When I graduated from High School, I really wanted to explore my (then) dream of being a dancer. So I flew to Toronto during the summer and auditioned for the School of the Toronto Dance Theatre with two friends. We were accepted into the Professional Training Program and moved to the Big Smoke in September. There was so much I loved about TDT, and I will forever be grateful that my parents supported me in choosing to try it. But I realized during that fall semester that I really wanted to head back home and go to university. I think I always knew I would end up going back to school, but these sidelines in life are sometimes just as important as where we end up, and TDT was a sideline that I will always cherish.
When I moved back to St John’s, I think my parents were relieved. Not only to have me home, but that I wasn’t going to have the unreliable life of a dancer. I knew they hoped I would choose to come home to MUN but they never once pressured me to stay. But once I was home, they hopped into action to help me do what was needed to start MUN in Jan, and that included my Dad lining up at the Thompson Student Center to register me for my first year courses. (that was before telephone registration – remember that??).
Adjusting back to life at home had its ups and downs at first. Looking back on the experience, mentally adjusting to the idea that I wasn’t a dancer anymore was harder than I realized at the time. For 16 years I had identified myself first and foremost as a dancer and suddenly I was cold turkey – no dancing at all. And of course University was challenging (as it should be). Probably I was putting extra pressure on myself to make university really work, since the path I first picked turned out not to be for me. If I wasn’t going to be a dancer and I couldn’t succeed at university – then what??
So when my first round of midterms came along I was STRESSED. Totally wound tight and not coping. And the day of my first midterm my Dad came and sat next to me and laid his hand gently on my arm and quietly and calmly assured me that all would be well. And just like that I started to feel better. More ready to face my week knowing he had confidence in me that I could do it. This small, peaceful gesture alleviated some of my worries and made me love him even more for recognizing what I needed in that moment.
It’s one of my most comforting memories of my Dad.
I’m lucky to have this wonderful father and fabulous Grandfather to his seven grandchildren.
Love you Dad.