I have a confession to make.
As a businesswoman and mom of five, I often feel like my kids get the short end of the stick. In fact, it’s not just a feeling—they DO get the short end of the stick sometimes. Case in point: my 16-year-old daughter, Isabella, moved away from home this year to follow her dance dreams in Chicago. I bought two extra flights to try to make it there in time. Still I missed the chance to see her before the homecoming dance at her new school.
I was emotional when I knew my flight from Dallas to Chicago wouldn’t be there in time. It was an important moment in my daughter’s life and I missed it.
My mother-in-law, Karen, who stepped up for the adventure of moving to Chicago with Isabella, sent pictures of her and the group in their homecoming finest. As I sat on the runway and scanned the photos, I realized something. I didn’t know any of the kids with Isabella from her new school. And then I kind of lost it. (My apologies to the guy next to the crying woman in seat 9E.)
When I expressed my dismay at not knowing the kids in the photo, Karen said something that made me laugh, cry harder, and smile all at the same time.
She said, “I understand. I don’t think Isabella knows anyone either. She’s gutsy and strong.”
Indeed she is.
That moment made me realize just how resilient Isabella is, and how those two words—gutsy and strong—made my heart smile between the tears. I was reminded that God loves Isabella even more than I do. He is the one who made her gutsy and strong. And He gave her a grandma to take her picture and take care of her heart on that day.
As studio owners and entrepreneurs, it can be easy to doubt our parenting. We feel bad when our kids eat gas station snacks for dinner, fend for themselves at the recital, or act out for our attention.
We feel in those moments like we’ve let our kids down in favor of caring for other people’s kids—and yet, what we’ve really done is raise up resilient, self-sufficient, independent young people who are equipped to handle more than the average kid can, including venturing off to a new city to pursue a passion, and attending homecoming with a brand new set of friends.
My perspective changed that day when I missed seeing Isabella for homecoming. I was still sad to have lost that moment with her, but I could smile at her gutsiness and strength.
I could see the eight-year-old in her, figuring out how to do her own bun and makeup at competition because I had to help another mother’s child; and the ten-year-old in her, getting cut from the part she wanted in the musical theater number because I couldn’t give it to her. Or the time we pulled up to dance camp showcase when she was fourteen and she said, “I know I’ll never get an award because I’m your kid.” Also I remember my joy that day when one of the guest teachers surprised us both by giving her an award, the only one she’d ever gotten at one of our events. I could see her standing on her own two well-poised feet—because she’d had that practice.
I was—and am—so proud of her.
My confession now has become more of an affirmation: sometimes the short end of the stick is just right.