I love my daughter. What mother wouldn't say that? Sometimes when I look at the pictures she posts on Facebook, I'm suddenly faced with the realization that this beautiful girl, my baby, is a wild child. I am constantly amazed at her bravery, some might call it willfulness, but she's living her life on her own terms. It's not an easy life. She works harder than anyone I know, but she also plays hard, lives fully, and is always pushing herself to see what else she can do. The above picture is her, on the right, taking fun pictures with her best friend on the left.
She has always been connected to animals without even trying. When she was very young, somewhere between age 3-5, a wild cat followed her home. The cat would run if we came near it, but would come up to her. As a teenager she worked on a nearby horse farm, and I watched as the horses followed her across fields and to the barns, without her even getting reins to bring them in.
She's always been an odd mix of worry-wart, perfectionist, and daredevil. New things always scared the hell out of her. She never handled change well, but she was also very stubborn. She would force herself to confront scary things if she really wanted something on the other side of it. It made me really nervous when she began jumping horses. When she moved onto trick-riding, I had to find peace with it, that if she broke her neck doing it, well at least she would go out doing something she loved.
I don't think I would ever strap jets to my back and skyrocket over water. The height, the speed, the water, nope, I would never do that, but damn, you go girl! She's not one to sit on the sidelines.
I don't believe she's an adrenalin junky. I've met the type before. She doesn't do things for the rush of risking her life. She does these things because she's alive, and she wants to experience everything she can.
She wants to achieve competence. She wants to try everything once (at least) to understand the experience, to learn new things, to participate.
She's decided she wants to be in a circus, but not one of these romaticized, "I'm going to run away and join the circus," type of fantasies. She wants to join Cirque de Soleil. She first started with pole classes, then competitions. It was great, but she wanted more. Next she began taking aerial hoop classes. Better, but she wanted to do more.
Then came the ribbons. She excelled at all of these things. She then applied to various circus schools. She had to send in video auditions for these schools. She got accepted to two programs. She really wants to go to the school in England, but she doesn't have the money. You can't get student loans for this type of education. So she has begun selling off everything she owns, piece by piece to get the money. I think with covering boarding for her horse while she's gone, continuing to pay on her car, airfare, room, board, and tuition, she needs around $10,000.
To me, this would be overwhelming, which is probably why I gave up on too many things that I wanted to do when I was younger. I admire her determination. She can't afford to continue her hoop and ribbon classes if she's going to save any money. So she found people who do free acro-yoga classes in Baltimore in one of the churches. She's now expanding her acrobatic skills by working with the instructor and classmates. I admire her focus, drive, and determination. I will give her some money to help her out, but I don't have ten grand. Her father said he will give her some money too, also not ten grand. I hope she's able to pull this off. She's working so hard for this. Sacrificing all she can. Is it any wonder I love this child? She's just amazing.