Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fortitude

Dani wanted to be in choir this year.
She wanted to be in the highly competitive A Capella Choir. So last spring, she started learning to sightread music, since that's a requirement of A Capella.

She auditioned in May and was dejected when she was placed in the Select Treble Choir instead.

Over the summer, she came to terms with being in Treble, even though her best friends were going to be in A Capella. She worked hard on her sightreading and realized that Treble could be a jumping point to GET to A Capella. She was ready to start her sophomore year with a good attitude about it.

Then came her schedule fiasco. Instead of one of her English classes, they put her in Art. (YES, my awesome writer of a daughter wanted to double up on English this year and got it approved by her academic advisor 'cause she's a Word Nerd like me and BOY does that make me proud!) In trying to get that fixed, they dropped her from Treble Choir to Concert Choir.

"Another new schedule," she texted me. "They put me in Concert Choir! Grrrr." She went and talked to the choir director about it (new director this year... not the one who auditioned Dani last spring), who said, "Well, okay. Let's audition you again right now." So on the spur of the moment, with no warm-up and while reeling emotionally, Dani had to sing. The director said, "I think you're in the right class." Dani was despondent.

"I psyched myself up all summer for Treble," she cried to me later. "And I was excited about it. I was gonna do my best. It's what I was PLACED in when I auditioned. And now the counselor just moved me to beginner's choir? And the Director is just letting it GO? The kids in there can't even carry a tune! They're tone deaf! That class doesn't even get to compete in UIL. This is not fair!!"

My heart broke for her. I remember 20 years ago auditioning for a Pop Singing Group and not making the final cut. To this day, it remains one of my most painful emotional injuries. I let her weep and wail and whine.

Then I reminded her that she KNOWS she can sing, that she has a beautiful voice, even. "You can survive this," I said. "It sucks and it's not fair, but it's what's been handed to you. You control how you handle it."

She decided to go in the next day with a good attitude. She sang out when they learned the school song. She sang the ALTO part out ('cause she can read music, you know). She smiled. She sat straight. She was her usual bundle of energy and joy. At dinner on the third night of school, she talked us into letting her take private voice lessons instead of guitar this semester.

On the 5th day, the director pulled her aside and said, "Dani, I was wrong. You belong in Treble." I'm not sure how Dani reacted in that moment. But when she called me at lunch, she was animated and ecstatic.

In 5 days, she had 4 different schedules. This week, finally, she's been able to settle in to 10th Grade. She's singing Alto. She's making friends in Treble. She's taking English II, English III, World History, 80-minute Algebra II/Trig, Latin III and Chemistry - all honors - along with Treble. And she's thinking about trying to walk on to the soccer team.

I hated that she had to live through all the turmoil of last week.
But I love that she proved to herself that she can handle it.
I'm so proud to be her Mom.

for-ti-tude  (fawr-ti-tood, -tyood)
noun
mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously

5 comments:

Dirpus said...

She's probably have better luck on the soccer team if she ran instead of walked. :D

Anonymous said...

STACE...
i need your help... how is it that you raised a girl that respects you and loves you and trust you with her innermost feelings? I suck as a mom.... Dani is awesooooooooome.... i need some parenting lessons from you.
karen

Beth said...

See, the education system needs more parents like you. The majority of moms would've marched in there and made demands. You let Dani handle it, and she GREW from the experience. Way to go, Dani.

Way to go, MOM.

Cara said...

Yee Haw, Dani!!! I told your Mom that day when you were texting (we were eating lunch together), "That new guy doesn't know what he is talking about! Tell her I said that she sings like a bird!". I am glad that he figured it out too!

Veronica in Aus said...

Way to go, Dani!!!!