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Family decisions: "Growing up" at a Residency

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BW

Bumping this one up for some fresh air. ;)

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mylildancer

I would love to be able to hear from the dks themselves. I wonder what they feel looking back at their childhood growing up in a boarding school. I'm in the same situation as Watermill's family. My dd knew that I could not stay with her away from the rest of the family till she was 18. She would go off on her own when she was older and she herself felt that she was ready. She thought she was ready at 14 but we convinced her to wait. Well, now that time is drawing nearer, and I can already feel myself preparing for it and I can tell that she is, too. Is it all going to be worth it? Still looking for that darned crystal ball! :thumbsup:

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dancemomCA

:P This is apropos today as ds was to fly back to RWB this morning, but he assumed that the 9:00 arrival meant PM, not AM, so has missed his flight. Now he is on standby - I am upset that I didn't have his itinerary in front of me, but I was trying to get him to manage his flights on his own, and with visiting two parents, things fall through the cracks. Sigh - one of the disadvantages of living away from home to study dance - the crazy travel situations that develop from time to time. Now he is stressed and I am stressed!!!! :wacko:

 

What I really wanted to reply to here was the thought that the adult is responsible for dealing with the change in the family dynamics once the child has left the home for dance school. I have found this the hardest part to deal with (besides the physical distance which is very difficult to accept in times of sickness and/or injury). Even after 7 months of separation, I feel that somehow everything in our family is off-kilter, it's hard to explain, but all I know is that nothing is the same as before. When he is home, I feel more "normalized"; however, I had to work during his break last week and felt upset that I couldn't be with him during the day. ARRGHHH. I think part of the problem is that I was very involved in his dance life and now that he is gone, I am slightly "at sea" so to speak. I'm sure that this happens when older children leave to study at university. And I'm sure that many of you will say to "get a life"!!!!

 

Since he is very happy with his current dance life and is thriving, I have decided to take this as an opportunity to take the time now afforded me and do things just for me!! Already I feel a better balance in my mind and hopefully this will translate into our home life. Don't get me wrong, nothing is seriously wrong at home, it's just that it has taken me, the parent, far longer than I expected to accept the fact that he is no longer living every day at home. But spending time with ds this past week, has also made me realize that he coping very well with boarding school and that has also provided me with impetus to release myself from constant worry.

 

Thanks for listening!! :)

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vagansmom

DancemomCA, that's a normal feeling even when kids leave home for college. I'm dealing with the empty nest feeling right now and it's rocky. I like how you expressed it - that something's off-kilter. That's exactly it! Thankyou!

 

Be kind to yourself. You've had to think about your son for all those years, day in and day out, and manage all the practical details such as scheduling, etc., in addition to having his companionship. Of COURSE you're mourning for the loss, in daily life, of someone so very special to you. Of COURSE there would be a void in your life and a feeling that something's missing - HE is! :)

 

It takes time and I'm no further along that path than you are. I have a very busy daily life but there's still something missing. When my son went away to school, there was some of this but of course I still had my daughter home. I've had my daughter home longer than you have had your son, and I'm grateful for it, but it's still a transition time with her gone.

 

Give yourself credit for understanding what's going on inside you and making some changes in your life. :P

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Treefrog

Rachel -- are you still around?? How did the story end?

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Hans

Since DK's who grew up at boarding school were called for...I used to be one. I left home at 16. There's a lot I could say, so to keep this concise, I'll just say that I'll respond to questions anyone might have, either here or via pm.

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mylildancer

After reading DancemomCA and Vagansmom's posts I have come to realize that I am more worried about how I will handle dd's leaving than how dd will, she being my youngest and all. I have a feeling dd will be just fine for the most part. She has been doing fairly well with our current living arrangement (better than I am). She just keeps forging ahead with what she feels is the next step in her journey. At least she has given me a years notice.

 

Hans, thank you for your offer of responding to questions. I think it would be a good idea for dd to ask questions and talk to people who have "been there and done that". Would you mind dd PMing you if and when she felt the need?

 

Thanks to all for giving me this insight and helping me to "get real". :D

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Hans

Absolutely, mylildancer. :D

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tendumom

Your word "off-kilter" is very right. A good visual/kinesthetic metaphor I often think of for the family is a hanging mobile. To work, each piece on the mobile somehow delicately balances with every other piece. When one element on the mobile is plucked off, the whole thing goes out of kilter. It takes time to find a way to re-balance the mobile. And that mobile will balance differently than it did to begin with.

 

My daughter has been away almost 2 years now and I still am adjusting. It has become what reality is in our family, and it is easier, but not always easy. I don't have the constant worry, anymore though, and that does help a lot. And knowing she is happy helps more than anything. Next year my son leaves for college and I face a truly empty nest.... more rebalancing for the mobile. ugh.

 

DancemomCA and Vagansmom, it is always good to know others understand and are going through the same thing. I too am working on finding that delicate balance. Good luck, Mylildancer! It is an exciting journey for everyone.

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balletbooster

Tendumom,

Great visual metaphor! You must be a wonderful teacher! :P

 

All of the emotions and experiences each of you have shared here are so helpful to those of us trying to consider and weigh the options for our young dancers. Thank you for your honesty and concern! :D

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Balletmartyr

I don't think comparing the college age child and teenage dk to be the same situation. My oldest is a senior in college and once they are away and gain independence, a change takes place (hopefully) to mold an adult. The teenager still needs the formation, be it from the ballet environment at a boarding school or the loving home environment. My daughter (age 13) wants more than anything to go to a year round ballet boarding school. Through family discussions my daughter turned down a SI that is basically an audition for year round boarding because we weren't ready to cross that bridge yet...that was in February! Now, early April, all I hear is why? why? why? because DD wants to be at a school totally focused in the ballet environment. She's feeling out of touch with her regular school friends...movies, sleepovers, the Mall... She wants ballet, ballet, ballet. Is this a phase? Does anyone know of schools that offer auditions at the end of summer for year round boarding if we decide to pursue this avenue? :D

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Hans

You could probably call the school to arrange a private audition and/or have your daughter take class at a time convenient for both parties, or send a video. Some schools do hold auditions in the autumn, but they don't tour and won't be very well publicized, especially if the school has just accepted people from its summer program.

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balletbooster

North Carolina School of the ARts will accept videos until some point in late summer. I think you can also arrange onsite auditions during the summer. Call and ask if you are interested. I've heard of several who have gained acceptance to schools that require the summer program as an audition, who got in by going for a shorter period of time, during an August intersession or in some cases the first week or two of the fall session. Best to call schools you are really interested in and see what they will allow. :D

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e'smom

If your daughter is 13 now, will she be a freshman next year? Most schools do not take boarding students before high school, and frankly I would not recommend it. Anyway, I believe VSA will accept videos in the summer if they are not full or she could arrange for an audition in person.

 

There are advantages and disadvantages to going away so young. In our case, there was not good training available within a reasonable commute and my daughter and I would have had to live in the car, and my son would have suffered from the lack of attention. It was not easy when she went away freshman year, several states away, but she made it through, has improved so much, and is able to be with kids who "get it" where here in our town she would have been the only "ballerina" in high school. The second year is so much easier!

 

I would recommend that she ask to room with a slightly older girl if possible. Freshmen can be very competitive with each other and they are all adjusting to life away from home, and living with people whose habits are so different from theirs.

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vrsfanatic

Balletmarytr, I would suggest phoning the school that had offered your daughter a position for the SI and see what the possibilities would be for the fall. You never know unless you ask. Maybe you could get on a list to enter in the fall if there is an opening? :D

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