All through our lives were are confronted with making choices. When our kids were little they made small choices about what to wear, what to eat or which bedtime story they wanted. As they are growing older their choices impact more and more who they are ~ from the friends they choose to the sports they play.
The boys are coming into a time when these choices will have a big impact on their futures. Right now, Zach wants to go to West Point and play hockey for them when he graduates from high school. His choices in academics, sports and leadership will play a huge role in whether or not he is accepted. Lucas has big dreams of playing hockey in the NHL and to get there he wants to go to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Lucas' choices in next several years will impact his dreams. Both boys have very defined dreams. They are focused on hockey with a smattering of lacrosse filling in the blanks.
Claire is a little less singularly focused in her dreams and she will have some big choices in the road ahead of her. She knows it and it is causing her some anxiety right now. I tell her and tell her she doesn't have to worry about her choices yet ~ her time for worrying will come later. I want her to enjoy her present day life. Right now, she loves to dance. Her feet are constantly moving. She taps all day long and loves learning new steps in class. She comes home and practices her steps more. Her recitals are fun and full of energy. I love seeing her walk out on stage ready to perform for the audience. Right now, she also loves to swim and she is REALLY good at it. She is a beautiful, powerful swimmer and I love to watch her take on the water. She is so confident when she steps on the blocks and dives in. It is amazing to watch her transformation from pacing nervously behind the blocks to confidently stepping up onto the blocks. She loves both of these sports with an intensity that is hard to find.
Claire knows when sixth grade hits she will have to make some choices. With the tough academic schedule she will have, she won't be able to do both competitive dance and competitive swim. There won't be enough hours in the day. So she will have to give up a little of both to make things work and this is causing her to rethink everything. She and her friend, Emma, spend lots of time trying to decide the best way to make both swim and dance work in sixth grade. They both swim together in the same group and they dance together in the same studio so they have each other to bounce ideas off of. Emma's idea is to drop all but one dance class and keep all of her swim practices. Claire's idea is to drop both swim and dance and take up something new, like basketball or volleyball. The only problem there is Claire doesn't like sports with balls involved. I doubt Stan and I will let her give up both of her passions, it would be too big of a blow to her to leave both sports behind but she will have some tough choices in the years to come. When I was 10 the biggest choice I had to worry about was which friend I wanted to play with for the day. I feel for Claire and her choices. Her choices will have a big impact on her in the years to come.
All of our kids are faced with much tougher choices much earlier than we were. Part of me thinks it is a shame to put so much pressure on our kids so early but the other part of me thinks it is a good thing to have a path to follow and a goal to attain. Making tough choices is all a part of growing up now, I guess.
Oh, for the love of my children...