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Hanging Up Her Shoes (Letting Go)



She’s hanging up her shoes. For good. And I couldn’t be prouder of her for the decision she has made. This ballerina-daughter of mine has decided that after 15 years of dancing, (the last several of which have been 25 hours a week, sometimes more), she’s finished. She’s decided not to go to Kirov in the fall as an apprentice, but go to college instead. She’s made the choice to continue her academic studies and give her body a much deserved break. Her hips are killing her, her feet are a mess, her body is bone-weary tired, and in making this decision, she is freer and more at peace than I’ve seen her in a long, long, time.

Letting go takes a tremendous amount of courage. We often think it is the holding on that makes us stronger, but it’s actually the opposite which is true. And what a strong daughter I have seen emerge from this decision. She turned 18 in the midst of it all. She chose a college that suits her needs – not her dad’s alma mater, by the way – even though it’s just two towns over! She’s discovered a part of herself apart from dance that has taken the best of that world and shaped her into a lovely young woman. She has confidence, she has grace, she has discipline, she has strength. She has the wonderful ability to see a seemingly random set of movements and know in her mind’s eye what a beautiful finished product they will become.

I’m learning a lot from this girl of mine, as I prepare to let her go in a few short months. I’m learning that we as her parents have given her a solid foundation of faith, faith in her God who has her firmly in his grasp as she lets go and trusts, and faith in herself that she is a capable and intelligent young woman, able to make these next steps. I am learning to simply let her be in the midst of the decision making, knowing that she will come to me when she needs to, for a shoulder to cry on, or a reveler to laugh with.

The necklace she has worn for the last four years since her Confirmation says it best for her, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, Phil 4:13  I can hardly wait to see what the next four years bring. God has a plan for her, and watching it unfold is exciting and breathtaking.

As disciples of Jesus, we’re called to let go in a myriad of ways – letting go of pre-conceived ideas about what we think God wants of us, and becoming still enough to listen to what He really wants is just one. Today, as I begin the process of letting my daughter go into adulthood, I will be still and ask God what is hindering me from my discipleship journey with Him. And then have the courage to listen……..and pry my tightly gripped fingers away from whatever it is I cling to so tightly………


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