Gabby, the dancer

Gabby’s big competition was yesterday. The one that takes the best 150 Irish dancers in 14 states (well, this year the number was around 150, if you take out the no-shows) and tries to find the best of the best. Every year, Gabby has worked hard and qualified to dance in this competition (through her performance at other regional competitions, this sport is so complicated). All the girls dance two rounds, and then they keep the top half to compete further. Gabby has only made it into the top 50% one time in the 6 years she has competed. Yesterday was not that time.

One of the other mothers texted me later, calling Gabby a “such a strong dancer and a fierce competitor.” I got that text while sitting on the couch, Gabby’s head in my lap. It was about 7:30 last night. She had gone through all the nerves and the anticipation and the letdown and the tears- followed always by her resolve to try again. Gabby believes in herself more than anyone I have ever met (not always a helpful trait, by the way). She IS a strong dancer and a fierce competitor– in part because that kid just will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER give up. I read her that text last night. I told her last night that hundreds of girls fail each year to even qualify, and she should be proud to make that high benchmark every year (she has already qualified for next year). I reminded her that it’s about the journey too. I said that it was okay to be disappointed, but not okay if she allowed her disappointment to be the most important thing about the journey. I reminded her of the hours she had spent in the studio with the other girls, supporting each other and laughing and getting better every day, and I said that that was the most important part.

And she said, her voice muffled by the blanket in which she was wrapped, “Thanks, Mom. I don’t want to make you feel bad, but I’m okay and I’m trying to watch The Walking Dead.

“Also, can I bring cupcakes to dance this week?”

–So she’s fine.

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