Select Page

Nothing Left To Prove

nothing left to prove

Nothing Left To Prove | Source

The generation U.S News and World Report called children of neglect must now worry that they are raising a generation of self-centered kids.

In 1971, while my mother washed clothes at a laundry mat in Southern California, my sister and I slipped into the ballet studio next door. This brief visit gave rise to a journey, a dream really, that one day I would wear a little pink tutu.

Let’s just say that wasn’t going to happen.

I have scars – real ones, actually – that prove far worse things (bunionectomy) than whatever wound was created in me by the absence of dance lessons. Still, they tell us — the byproduct of Gen X childhood disappointment is Gen-X child-centered (over) parenting.

Still, one day,*I* would have a little girl and she would never, ever be able to imagine what it would be like to want something so much and never have it. Like all those little girls who looked like little French Madelines wearing black leotards and pink slippers, *my* little girl would have a tightly combed ballet bun. She would carry her ballet bag to school, and she would even complain about having to go to these classes. This would be proof of authenticity over mere parade.

And, so it came to pass, that at the tender age of two, my sweet J. began ballet, and she proceeded to take lessons over the next eight years. One time someone asked me what I was trying to prove. It cut me, but I had no answer. It always kind of haunted me.

Every year we bought a bigger leotard | Source

So, time rocked on and every month, I wrote out the check, and every year we bought a bigger leotard and bigger pink slippers. The cost was sometimes a sacrifice, sometimes not. We bought books about ballet as she counted the years until she could start pointe (that is when she wasn’t complaining about having to go to class). When new things captivated her, we tried them – like gymnastics, ice skating, soccer, baseball, guitar, piano, art. But, we never stopped doing ballet, mostly because I insisted she continues with her lessons. My insistence was guided by my fear that she would arrive at 15, and look back with regret that she quit too soon. Or worse, she would blame me for never getting to dance.

Through the years, she complained often about having to go to class, but most days, she’d come home from her lessons and dance through the kitchen showing us what she had learned. “Ms. Victoria says I have a perfect fifth position,” she’d gleam lesson after lesson, year after year.

And, it was true. Her fifth position was brilliant. I’m going to miss it. This fall, I will not be buying a new leotard or slippers. One uneventful June morning this summer, she complained about ballet for the last time. I surrendered.

There are two kinds of little girls in the world: those who dream of dancing and those who get to dance. J. was in the second group. I figure that’s what I had to prove.

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

Thank you for subscribing. Posts are delivered ONCE A WEEK on Sundays at 6 p.m. You can unsubscribe anytime with one click. Also, we will not share your email address with anyone.


  1. Wek

    Jen- thanks for blog rollin’ me. Preciate it!

  2. Debra W

    Oh my Jen, such a heartbreaking and heartwarming post all wrapped into one. Your daughter is beautiful! She looks a lot like her mommy. Precious.

    I am sure that J will look back fondly on her dancing years. You have given her a gift and she will cherish it as she passes that gift along to her own little girl someday.


  3. DogBlogger

    I started out like you. My mom finally signed me up for classes when I was 9. I thought ballet was a little too dainty, though, so went with jazz. Ballet came at 14. Pointe shoes came at 15. Even used them some in college.

    I’ve been in 3 recitals and one competition in my adult life (won that, too). Going back to class tonight for the first time in 8 years. I just can’t stay away.


Share Your Thoughts

Pin It on Pinterest