The Joy of Chasing Our Kids’ Passions

kid having swing on a high flying trapeze,

I drove slowly through the old warehouses, squinting to read building numbers posted near old loading docks and nondescript utility doors. My tires crunched the pavement’s loose pebbles as my daughter and I looked again for the right location. The numbers counted up until the building ended, right before the number that was supposedly our destination. In my 17 years living in this city, I can guarantee you I’d never been to this pocket of town before. It was all unfamiliar, and most unfamiliar things are squarely outside of my comfort zone.

Square…this word could be used to describe me fairly well. I tend to stick to what I know and only take small, calculated risks. But, do you know who ISN’T square? My oldest daughter. She was the reason we were scanning building numbers on that particular day in the first place.

She miraculously spotted a sign for our destination, and we followed an arrow or two, turned down a small road and parked right outside the door. I made her pose in front of the door for the obligatory “I’m doing this!” picture, and then we stepped inside.

Above us, the room rose to the full warehouse ceiling height. A net spanned most of the space, and above that, a small platform was suspended on one end with a trapeze bar hanging near it. Indeed, we had arrived at her first flying trapeze class.

When I began my parenting journey, I definitely didn’t see this coming! I imagined snuggling small babies, pushing a stroller around the neighborhood, playing at the park, and going to the apple orchard. I guess I didn’t see too far past that first brief chapter of parenthood. Now we are entering the middle school years where my daughter is discovering her own interests, passions, and dreams. I’ve got to say, it is absolutely thrilling to be a part of it! It feels like a convertible ride on a winding mountain road where you are not the driver but the passenger – terrifying at times but mostly thrilling.

At her flying trapeze class, I watched as she scaled a tiny ladder up, up, up. She clung fearfully to it when she mistakenly glimpsed down at the floor while halfway up. She paused, and I wasn’t sure she would go on, but she took another slow step, then another. My heart was cheering her on with everything I had. Finally, she arrived at the top of the ladder and climbed onto the small platform. Her toes curled over the edge, and she leaned out over the net to grab the trapeze bar. She paused, then took the brave leap.

I watched as she expertly hung by her arms, maneuvered her legs up over the bar, and then released her hands. Then, finally, there was my baby, swinging by her knees several stories up in the air. Because she’s the incredible young woman she is, she not only stayed suspended by her knees but stretched out her arms elegantly, soaking in every second.

In case you’re wondering, I totally cried happy tears. I tried to play it cool, but I was so proud of her I couldn’t help it.

I feel honored to get to watch her pursue her passions. Her dreams are not what my dreams were growing up, and because of that, I get to step into many different worlds I wouldn’t have discovered on my own. I am learning right alongside her and getting inspired too! I even hope to take the next trapeze class with her.

Motherhood has been full of unexpected surprises, and this is one of the best ones. I am experiencing a joy I didn’t know possible; watching my kids chase their passions. Who knows where we will end up next?

Amber has lived in Minnesota her whole life, with a 4-year stint in Iowa for college (Go Norse!). She and her husband met while both trying to kayak for the first time. The kayaking didn’t go well, but their relationship did! They’ve been married for over 10 years and have four incredible children. Amber describes herself as a recovering perfectionist, unashamed introvert, and extremely empathetic. Her favorite moments are those rare ones during the day when time stands still and she can see with fresh eyes the amazing little people who call her mom.

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