MegaMAID's Parenting Parables

Life moves fast! Taking time to write (or read) about it sometimes helps keep things in perspective. Below you'll find a few thoughts from Meg, a MAID in Maryland...

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Location: Maryland, United States

“Mother Addicted to Irish Dance” (MAID) is a title that I first began to earn in the summer of 2003. Watching my daughter express the music of my ancestry through this beautiful art form stirred in me a joy that was … all-consuming! It led to an “addiction” that I continue to feed as a parent, as a writer, as an adult dancer, and as an enthusiastic Craic participant.

July 29, 2006

Precious Memories from the Nation's Capital Feis

If you’ll forgive this Proud Parent, I’d like to share some of my precious memories from a feis last weekend. Every feis experience has its challenges. The manner in which we meet those challenges is a large portion of the “life lessons” available to be learned through Irish Dance. And not all of those lessons are for the dancers!

My daughter had her first “false start” experience on stage this Sunday. (I know, I know, it happens to everyone at some point, for various reasons.) One count into the music, Katie stopped dancing and burst into tears. The judge (to whom I am eternally grateful!!!) came over to calm her and encouraged her to try again. Thankfully, Katie took a deep breath to muster her courage, tried again, and danced a great hornpipe! The crowd surrounding the stage gave her a huge round of applause … which caused me to burst into tears of pride (and relief)!

[Note to self – stuff pockets with Kleenex when attending a feis.]

A few hours later, Katie had her second ever false start experience, this time on a different stage, simply because she lost her concentration and started the wrong step. However, she did not “lose it” on the stage! She stopped dancing, walked back to her place in line, kept her composure, and waited for the judge’s instruction to dance again. After leaving the stage, she buried her face in my hug and had a good hard cry. Then she pulled herself together, sat at the edge of the ballroom … and started making shadow puppets on the wall. (After all, learning how to handle false starts is a very mature lesson at the tender age of eight!)

As a parent, this one feis has caused me to age at least ten years! But it has also reaffirmed my love of this activity. Simply reading about the two false start experiences, you may assume that we consider this feis “not one of our better days”. Not true! It was a great lesson in evaluating priorities. Sure, those two dances were certainly not Katie’s best memories of competition experiences. But they did not overshadow the day!

For every experience, there is an opportunity to look at the bright side.

For every bar of music, there is an opportunity to demonstrate a true love of dance (which is fun to do no matter what the scoreboards read later).

For every parent watching, there is an opportunity to marvel at the innocence of youth, and to burst with pride at the courage and the talent of these dancers.

For every situation that seems a bit overwhelming, there is an opportunity to take a break, find a quiet corner and read a book, or make shadow puppets on the wall.

For every hassle of negotiating an overcrowded stage area, there is an opportunity for shared experiences with dear friends, new and old. (ahem… sorry, ZandB, I meant “not so new”)

And, most gratefully, for every smile shared, there is someone else who will reciprocate. The laughs that we shared (with each other and with our friends) are the reasons that Katie and I will fondly remember the 2006 Nation’s Capital Feis. Hey, who could NOT have fun spending a day with the likes of ZandB and my newest feis friend, DanceMom1204 from Kentucky?!?!



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