There were three, now there is one. It is a bittersweet statement. And it may even be premature. Either way, things on my flamenco journey are changing yet again.
When I started on this path six years ago, it was meant to be a solo venture. Something just for me, a hobby I could do alone as Lori, not as mom or wife or friend or co-worker or family member. That lasted for two weeks, or so, before my daughters (16 and 13 years old at the time) decided mom was having so much fun and this dance looked so captivating. Soon, they were in-tow with me to class. At first, I was a little annoyed, I will admit. What happened to the, “this is for me”? thing? But, as any good mom would do, I swallowed my thoughts and words and together, the three of us started our flamenco journey.
It wasn’t long before I was very happy and grateful they were dancing alongside me. Not only did they both emerge as amazing dancers; one sassy and one graceful, but the nights of class, dinner afterward or lunch before, sharing about our day on the car rides to and fro, the performances, and special events at the studio each provided wonderful mother/daughter time and memories. There were extra added bonuses for the girls, too – understanding team work and commitment, building confidence as the body molds from teenager to young woman, maturity in understanding the palos and musicality, etc. We even performed a piece together, a fandangos, for several years in the student recital (see pictures above and below). It was an amazing way to share, not only our specific family, but also how flamenco is cross-generational and for all ages. My mom heart overflowed with pride and contentment.
As they got older and had other commitments, time with me outside of flamenco became less and less but, at least, I had this time.
Fast forward to now. My oldest daughter has been at college for the past four years but still came to class and performed when she was home for summer. While I greatly missed her presence, the change was a bit more subtle because the youngest and I were still regular attendees and performers. She will be graduating soon and off starting a new life as an adult. The youngest just graduated high school, is working a lot and looking to go to college next year. She has stopped going to class as she manages a 60 hour work week and being a young adult.
I think the ‘Three Musketeers Flamenco Time’ has come to an end. That makes me sad. And in this climate of so much change in my life, this is yet another aspect to absorb into my flamenco dancing. You see, it isn’t just that my daughters won’t be around much, if at all, for flamenco, it is that they won’t be around much in my life on a daily basis anymore. Soon, I will be an empty nester. A parent often thinks this day will never come and then in a blink of an eye, it is here. It happens to everyone, I know. My daughters and I are very close and have been through a hell of a lot together and I will miss their daily presence in my life.
As I said, maybe this is premature. I may be getting ahead of myself. Maybe they will both find the time to keep flamenco in their lives, with me and for themselves, but it will not be the same. It’s sad for me but it’s ok. They need to go out into the world and follow their own passions and dreams.
My job now is to go back six years and recall the “for me” mentality. I have to reinvent my dancing and focus solely on me. That is not a bad thing, I understand. And it is something I deserve, I get that. This is probably the perfect time for it, as I fight to recover from surgeries and get back on the dance floor. Some may think I should have focused more on myself to begin with, and in many ways I did, but there was always the underlying part of the three of us being in this crazy flamenco world together. As a parent, that is unavoidable and I make no apologies for it.
One more stone has been laid on my continually evolving flamenco path, one more experience to pull from, one more emotion to emulate, one more sorrow to dance through. I will always treasure the memories we have made together, in and out of flamenco, and I know this is just the beginning of a new phase for us. New memories, new experiences, more happiness. I am a very lucky mom they wanted to share this with me for so long. I have enjoyed the ride. Ole mis hijas!
Pictures below: a pre-show pic, one of the many years of our fandangos together, and our very first Flamenco Louisville Student Showcase back in 2013.