My girls have been dancing for three years now.
I have done three years of drop offs to their classes, three years of finding the most affordable dance wear (second hand, always the winner), three years of ballet buns.
Three years of reading and re-reading rehearsal schedules for concerts, and hunting down a particular shade of lipstick, and paying for photos and tickets and other extras.
Of inviting family and friends to concerts, and having two tired little girls afterwards.
There have been moments where the dressing in tights, then leotard, then wrap skirt, then ballet shoes, then wrap cardigan have been tedious - plus the remembering of drink bottles and tap shoes, and the dash out the door to make class in time is often a frazzled one.
But then, seeing them dance on stage at the end of the year, glowing and proud makes those moments worthwhile.
They've learned the discipline of sticking at something, even when they don't feel like it.
The independence (I've just started letting Eden jump out of the car and run into class by herself - she feels liberated!) and then there's the fitness, the fun, the friendships.
Extra curricular activities are often more effort for us as parents, and sometimes just the expense is enough to have us balk at the idea, and wonder if it's worth the money or the time.
And at the end of another year of dance (and partway through a cricket season for the big brother) I can tell you most certainly has been for us.
Not because I want to create prima ballerinas, or compete with the dance mums (I will never compete with the dance mums, my buns are sub standard!) but because it's teaching them life lessons that I am still learning myself. Life lessons about dedication and appreciation, and the ability to encourage and applaud others who are in the spotlight even when they aren't.
Because it introduces them to the arts, and a creative and daring lets-try-everything life.
And next year, they want to try gymnastics instead and I'm okay with that.
It's a daring, creative, lets-try-everything life.