Just back from a whirlwind weekend at the Eastern Canadian Irish Dance Championships. The boys came first and second in their solos and my daughter danced wonderfully in a group of 43 dancers including many from higher levels. They competed in teams as well and all three kids were on first place teams in multiple categories.
After all the driving to practices and travelling to competitions, the costumes and the shoes, the mental work to prepare, I am so thankful for the lessons this sport has brought to my children. People sharing bobby pins and tape, working together on hair and makeup, cheering each other on as they dance.
When my oldest son came first for the first time after seven years competing in this competition, we went down to the hotel lobby. There was a girl sitting at the window of the restaurant who dances at another school in my son’s age group. She opened the window of the restaurant and threw her fist up in the air and yelled, “You finally won! Congratulations!” So lovely.
And when my daughter didn’t recall for a medal, she ran over to her friend who was awaiting her fate. Her friend did recall and my daughter screamed and jumped up and down like it was her own win. Priceless.
Years from now, the medals and trophies will be buried in drawers and cupboards, but the memories will remain. The friendships, the winning and losing with grace, the value of grit, the ability to persevere no matter what, the satisfaction of setting a goal and moving mountains to make it happen.
Irish dance has infused so much life into our family’s journey. May we never forget to dance like no one is watching.