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The Splits

Last night I took Gracie to ballet. It's one of my favorite things. She had a make-up ballet technique class at 5 p.m. and her ballet/tap combo at 6 p.m. By this point in the dance season the girls know all the exercises they do in class and the teacher will introduce a new position or move every couple of weeks. One thing Gracie has been working on since last year are her splits. Splits are very important in ballet because it's necessary for dancers to be able to do the splits so that they can do beautiful leaps.

Splits have not been Gracie's thing. Every week I watch her as the instructor says: "knees on the floor, one leg in front, slide to the floor." And every week when Gracie "slides to the floor" there is a huge gap between her body and the floor and then usually she will just kind of fall over until it's time to switch legs.

So last night in her first class I watched her practice her splits and I saw what I usually saw. In her second class they practice splits and again I watched her slide down but still there was the gap.

But then something amazing happened. The split exercise was over and her teacher was getting ready to move on to the next exercise. But I saw a look of struggle on Gracie's face that was mixed with determination and a little hope.

She was alone in that room in that moment. Doing the exercise for herself. I watched her again. Knees on the floor, one leg in front, slide to the floor. But then she did something she hadn't done before. She pushed her legs out further and the gap narrowed. There was a look of accomplishment on her face as she pushed down even further and just like that she had closed the gap and was doing a full split. She looked up and found me in the crowd with a huge smile on her face. She had done it. She did it all on her own because she believed she could. Even though she had struggled for nearly a year with the splits, she never gave up and one day with a little determination she did it.

I was so proud of her because I knew what a big deal this was to her. I had a huge smile on my face and gave her a big thumbs up and said "you did it!" During the rest of class whenever there was a break between exercises she would do the splits again. I think partly because she wanted to make sure she could really do them and it wasn't a fluke and partly because she was so proud of what she accomplished and wanted to keep feeling that feeling.

There's a lot from this story that you can apply to weight loss. Never ever give up. Never think just because you can't do something right now that you won't be able to accomplish it with a little practice.

I wish I had a photo of her doing the splits, but I was too excited to think about that. Instead here's a photo from last night of her trying on her costume for the ballet performance coming up this spring.

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