If was to describe my daughter, I would say she shines. All of my kids are likeable, of course (yes, I’m biased), but her likability shines out of her. There is something about her that draws people to her.
She smiles. She’s friendly with a good sense of humour. She’s caring and kind. She’s well behaved and hardworking, without being a goody-goody or a show off. She looks a bit different with her very long hair and her glasses, people notice her and remember her.
But you can go from shining at primary school and shining in your dance class or on stage in panto, to being a bit lost at a grammar school. Suddenly she’s in a year group of five classes of lovely girls. Five classes of girls who are clever, hardworking and friendly. Five classes of girls who shine.
Last year, she wasn’t in the school musical.
‘Why aren’t you in this?’
‘Because they didn’t want me.’
DIDN’T WANT YOU?! Are they mad or blind?!
She didn’t play netball for the school. She’s got a lot of natural sporting ability, but natural sporting ability isn’t enough against girls who either played netball all through primary school or who have played for a club. Her primary school was terrible at sport and she’s never had time for competitive or team sports as she’s been too busy dancing.
She had a small speaking part in a recent drama performance. She regretted not going for a bigger part. Girls who don’t shine and who were wooden and awkward on stage had a bigger part than her. It was her own fault for not pushing herself forward, for not believing in herself quite enough.
But she auditioned to be in a group for a national school dance competition. She got in. And the group made it through the first round of the competition. They will be taking part in a regional final in another city in a couple of months.
And she’s doing a duet in a house dance competition. I’ve seen her practise. She shines.
She would have liked to do a solo for house dance, but she was turned down. On what grounds?
On being her brother’s sister.
Her brother, the nice guy who makes people laugh and mucks around. Who knew he would have a sister that was good at dancing?
The 6th former who dished out the roles even asked him: ‘Why didn’t you tell me your sister was a good dancer?’.
She’s working hard on the two dances most lunchtimes. People now know that she’s a good dancer. Maybe she will make it into the school musical this year? If she wants it.
And remember that painting she worked so hard on? That won the year 8 prize, and rightly so. I’ve got it framed now.
It may be harder to shine when you’re surrounded by other talented girls, but now she’s in year 8, my daughter has got her shine back.