As I near the end of the year, I have been looking back at all the great sessions this year. All the new clients, all the past clients I got to see again. The seniors from the class of 2020 that I got to meet this year....
I have to say, seniors may be my favorite sessions. They come with so much energy and they always make me laugh. And as much as I love all my littles, the seniors can sit still and take a direction which makes the sessions go a little easier, too. I don't have to wear my running shoes for those. ;)
I decided I'm going to start blogging again on a more regular basis, and I'm going to start at the very beginning of my seniors this year.
Ashley came to me in July, before I left for Utah. Ashley is a total goof. I love her and frequently refer to her as my extra daughter. She is smart, funny, a great dancer and has a high tolerance level for my crazy youngest daughter.
Ashley came into our lives when my youngest was 3 and started dance. Ashley was a helper in her class, and at the time, she was about 12. My daughter would hang off her like a tick, and Ashley never minded. As they both grew older, even though the age difference was vast, their bond seemed to grow stronger.
At some point in that first year, I met Ashley's mom, Stacey, and her and I also seemed to hit it off. I complimented her on her daughter's level of patience and kindness. I have to say, after 6 years, Stacey is one of my best friends and closest confidants.
Ashley is a competitive dancer at Spotlight Dance Studio and has been dancing since she was 2. This year is her 16th and final year at the studio. She competes at the regional and national level and has brought home more elite golds, high scores, overall scores and special awards than I can count. She is not only a part of the dance team, that includes dances in the jazz, tap, ballet and musical theater genres, she is also a member of The Crew, which is the hip hop team at the studio. As someone who has a daughter on both teams, I can attest to the work and dedication it takes for them to be part of both teams. They are spending about 15-20 hours a week in the studio rehearsing, along with all their school work and other extra curricular activities. She has danced at Disney World multiple times, performed at Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen Pageant along with countless other special performances.
She is amazing at applying make-up and is frequently the one team members go to see when they need their eyelashes applied. She makes amazing cakes. And, oh yeah, did I mention she's great with kids?!
She's currently exploring her options after high school to pursue a degree in early childhood education. Something I have been telling her since she was 12 that she would be amazing at. Not just my daughter, but every young kid she works with seems to gravitate towards her. She just has that personality that fits so well with littles.
It actually physically hurts my heart to think of her not being at the dance studio next year. When I get to the studio, my own kids ignore my presence, but Ashley is always waving to me through the windows. And mostly pretending she's disgusted by my existence. But she loves me. ;)
When your senior leaves their one hour session with me, I think about them long after. I wonder a lot how my previous seniors are, what their life journey has brought them and if their career path is the same as when they chatted with me on that warm day during their senior session. I have been fortunate that some seniors have become close friends, already were close friends, or are family.
For instance, one senior I got to work with just announced she is being hired by Gilette Stadium to work with the grounds crew on the field when she graduates college this upcoming May. So amazing!
I am thankful that though Ashley will no longer be part of my daily life, that hopefully I will get to her grow into an even more amazing version of herself.
This was definitely my hardest senior session to date because of the emotional factor. Good luck, Ashley. I know whatever you choose to do, you'll do it big, you'll do it great, you'll do it with flair and you'll make everyone laugh while knocking it out. <3
Location: Plymouth, MA. Brewster Gardens and Plymouth Pier