I think this time of year we all find ourselves reflecting over the past year. Thinking of the milestones we reached and the goals we are still striving for. I have enjoyed my 2018 reflections, and I’m actually both surprised and amazed. It’s been different and crazy, for sure. But it’s also taught me that, even though at times I feel unnoticed, I have obviously made an impact on my family in many ways.
Reflections on the Load Carried in 2018
I am a mom, a wife, and a dental hygienist in my husband’s practice (which I also manage). My husband and I are both national dental speakers and travel the country together. I have been assisting him in creating online CE (Continuing Education) courses and publishing his book. We also manage 9 properties that were left to us when his father passed away. And let’s not forget, most importantly, my children: Alex is 26, received his master’s degree in aviation, and in August moved to Colorado for employment with United Airlines. Brielle is 13 (8th grade) and the reason our family is in the middle of this exciting adventure.
Reflections on Brielle’s Dancing History
Brielle started dancing at the age of 3, and her passion just kept growing. I could never enroll her in enough classes, as she always wanted to be challenged. She worked each night, trying to achieve a new skill. I am all too familiar with this type of passion, as I grew up in a family with a dance background. My grandfather performed in Hollywood and made movies with Judy Garland and many others. My grandmother was on Broadway and toured with the Andrew Sisters. They eventually married and had 66 studios in the Midwest. I grew up in that environment (which is another story altogether), so I knew early on with Brielle that she had a passion beyond just taking a dance class.
Over the years, Brielle wanted more and more dance, at higher levels of training, as she kept pushing herself and going to intensives. When Brielle was 10, I found a place that provided a high level of training, but also provided a very nurturing and fun atmosphere. A&A Ballet in Chicago. It was at least a 2 ½ hour drive one way to Chicago from our home. I enrolled her in every intensive they had and stayed in hotels while she trained.
At the age of 12 she stayed with a family she didn’t know over her summer break, so she could train with A&A Ballet and take their summer intensive. At that point, I knew there would come a time when she would want to make A&A Ballet her dance home; I just didn’t realize that it would be the following year.
Reflections on Dancing as a Lifestyle in 2018
Here we are a year later and, Brielle is no longer in traditional school, she is home-schooled. She no longer lives in the family home; we have a condo on Michigan Avenue. It’s crazy, it’s fun, and sometimes we have sad moments. Everything normal and stable that our family was accustomed to has been completely transformed. We are finding new traditions, a new normal, and new routines.
I mostly stay at the condo when not traveling for speaking, consulting, or seeing patients in our dental practice. We have a nanny that stays with Brielle when we are both gone. Bob spends a lot of time traveling back and forth between the condo and our home in Bloomington, the house he and I built together 15 years ago. In addition to this, we have found that after so many days together in our condo, the three of us tend to start getting on each other’s nerves, as we each have big personalities and need space.
She dances Monday through Friday 10-3 and Saturday 1-5, and there are usually some extra hours thrown in there for private lessons. She comes home exhausted and hungry. She logs on to do her homework, watches a favorite show, ices her toes and ankles and, honestly, she usually is rehearsing something in her room each night before bed.
Looking Ahead to Year-End Events
Thanksgiving Day she will be performing with A&A Ballet in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is televised live coast to coast. The Nutcracker Ballet will begin the following weekend and she will be performing in the Studebaker Theatre, in which my grandparents performed back in their day as well. She is just doing her thing, and I am sitting back and letting her go.
We are having a blast up here being able to go shop, dine, or catch a show last minute. This is a change of pace for us. Friends have been coming up to visit and keep us company. This holiday season up here has been magical in so many ways. Bob and I got engaged up here at Christmastime years ago, and now to watch our family come full circle back to the stage where my grandparents performed. Kind of is surreal.
I can honestly say she has only had one meltdown. She cried about how she missed her bed, trick or treating in her neighborhood, and the thought of not being home for Thanksgiving. She wanted to go home. The fact that she is only 13, and the youngest in the program, makes it very difficult for her as the other ballet students can get on the train and go home, or are of college age. I sat on the couch and mostly listened. After about 20 minutes she gave me a hug, got up off the couch and said, “Mom, I’m good. Please understand that I have to stay here and dance. I can’t go back to Bloomington; I would be bored in like 5 minutes. I just needed to cry a little.” Bob looked at me and was bewildered. He did not understand what had just happened right in front of his eyes. All I said was, “Honey, this is why I am up here maintaining her, and you are down there maintaining our home.”
Christmas 2018 Reflections
Alex and Brielle both have a few days off at Christmas, and I had suggested that we take a quick vacation together. I immediately got informed (by my children) that I was to have our home decorated. They want to be together by our tree, doing our normal traditional things that I have created over the years. Funny, all these years I thought I was driving myself crazy, and no one noticed or appreciated the things I do to make it special. I guess I was wrong.
I hope to see you at Vanessa Emerson’s Jumpstart 2019. my husband is demanding I somehow figure out a way to be there. He has been selected to be in the competition speech, and I believe he wants a cheerleader. Until then, I am off to help decorate the Nutcracker Tree that will be in a window display on Michigan Avenue. Who would have thought?