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  • Kristen Kehoe

Week 11: Irish Dancing Queen

It's one week until spring break, and it feels a little like we're holding on by a thread. It also feels like I've received more emails than normal at work, identifying a "fight" or "sparring match" or "suspension" that I need to be aware of.

Cool, cool, cool, cool. (Where my "Community" peeps at? Because only you got that reference.)

Despite those suspensions, or disturbing conversations with students who admit to being told no and still not adhering to the other person's wishes (wowzers), this week ended on a huge high for our family because Livvy-Love got to dance at three different performances for her Irish Dance Academy, and let me tell you, there is nothing but happiness and joy from Irish step dance.

Confession: when Liv was seven, we had her play for a U-10 soccer team. We loved the coach, we loved the academy program, we loved the people on the team...we love soccer and wanted to brainwash her and make her love it, too. You know, totally normal and not at all crazy parenting choices.


As you might have predicted after reading that, she did not, in fact, fall in love with soccer. My girl is not aggressive, nor is she always on the go. The idea of chasing people down, stealing the ball from them, and then racing to the other end of the field from whence she just came? It boggled her mind. Also, it made her tired and sweaty, and she didn't really want to be either of those things. A real competitor, that one.

In true Liv fashion, she tried her best. She smiled even when other girls and parents got frustrated with her and hollered at her from the sidelines. She worked hard to play her 2-3 games a weekend and be happy about it. And she always cheered for her teammates, although she didn't really feel a part of it.

And then, driving home from her first spring practice a year later, her little voice came from the backseat: "Mama, I don't really like soccer. It's not very fun." Heart, meet hammer.

I almost cried. (I mean, I did cry, heavily, but not until later when she was in the shower and I could totally fall apart in private like the goddamn adult I am.)

A few clarifying questions later, I realized she was unhappy because soccer wasn't her thing, it was the thing I had chosen for her. Essentially, it was my thing. And there is that humbling parent-moment, the one when you realize something that you should have realized six months or a year before: that your child is their own person, and they have their own desires, loves, personality, and abilities. And it's our job to nurture those, not push them to the side so I can fill her days with my things.

So, we quit soccer before third grade, and started something even better: we did all of the things. Tennis, softball, basketball, jazz, ballet, choir, piano...and then, through a routine conference call with a parent, we found Irish Dance. It was kismet.

Suddenly, I was watching my daughter do the thing that made her tired and sweaty and happy. I was watching her in the living room and the kitchen, even on her way to school, where she would tell me she did a slip-jig while jumping rope during P.E.. Everywhere I looked, Liv was doing a jig or a reel, a quick-step that had her bouncing and moving to music only heard in her head. And that had me smiling. Because she was smiling.

So, while this week started out like it would never end, when it ended, it was the most amazing week of 2023 thus far. I was out past 8pm both Thursday and Friday night, around a ton of people I did not know, helping my daughter put on red lipstick (thank you, Youtubers), and still, it was amazing.

Saturday, we let the wee Irish lass sleep (17K steps in dance between both nights warrants a lazy Saturday), and Old Man River and I took Luna-the-labragoat on a hike. Then it was a library and coffee date with Liv, before March Madness.

Bing, bang, happy week 11, loves. I hope you skip into your week 12 just like Liv and her team.


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Mar 20, 2023

Oh my, I absolutely love reading your stories and love Irish dancing🍀💚🍀 I had no idea Liv did Irish dancing, please invite me to watch her next time🍀💚🍀

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