Thursday, August 7, 2014

normal not

Between getting dressed in the early dark of summer mornings and putting herself to bed before the sun sets Boo is thriving. She lost a tooth, fell in love with the idea of owning a rabbit, flew in an airplane, jumped, swam, rode, hiked, and so much more. And yes, mostly she is "gym-ed".  

Last night on social media I unintentionally set off several discussions. One was about whether Boo was being held back by not skipping levels, another came from different 2 points across the country questioning the safety and long term effects of her training, and the third from a friend asking if this life is fair for any of us.    

I have to admit each question left me feeling a bit attacked. The level skipping I will accept as a complement to Boo & ignore the politics of gyms behind it. It was the last one that got me. It was his words, "Don't you want a normal life for her?" The answer is simple: yes, I do. That would be lovely but this is her normal. 

I am too tired to fully explain because this driving gym taxi, stressing over $, plotting high gear nutrition, schedules, meets, levels, judges, skills, icing, injuries, leos, and hair.... are not my normal

I will say, these kids are not happy or even okay without gym, without challenge, without work. During the school year they work out 4 hrs a day and almost every single one of them is a 4.0 student most with AP or honors classes. 

If it wasn't gym it would have been something else. Their drive and passion is not something I can accurately explain. Their drive and passion is a picture words can't paint.  

All I know is my job as this kid's mom is to raise the kid while respecting the athlete. Her coaches job, to raise the athlete while respecting the kid. Her job is to be her. 

Last week she told me her job hurts. I spend the next 18 hrs waging a loosing battle for a day off. When she refused to stay home I drove her to gym for her 5 hr work day. When I picked her up she said, "I had the best day. I am so glad I didn't skip." And I am so glad at least one of knows what we are doing!

That flick flick on high beam is the result of her constant daily work ethic. It comes from inside her. It has nothing to do with me or what I would want.

Being her isn't always easy. Being so big in such a small body is hard. Being a little giant's mom was never my grand plan. I'm tired of the stress but she isn't anywhere near done. I can't answer all the questions but perhaps I am learning I don't have to- turns out it's not my job.



  1. That is a great post. She is an amazing kid.

    1. Thanks, we think we might keep her :)

  2. Other parents don't understand. You know whether you are pushing your kid or she is pushing herself. Yes there is a problem with parents scheduling a hundred privates and it not being the kids desire. Yes there is a problem with parents buying beams and bars for the home and making their kid practice. But we know what amount is us and what amount is them. The key is for it to be all them. As far as skipping levels, I have come to accept that coaches know best.

    1. I so agree. We have parents who want it more than their kids do- scary stuff. This road is not easy but I wouldn't change a thing about her!

  3. This has happened to me before (not about gymnastics but about homeschooling.) My first reaction was "Really--you are going to call me out on Facebook instead of expressing your concerns privately?" And my second reaction was "What's so great about a normal life?" If only every kid had the opportunity to follow their unique path and passion, instead of getting a "normal life" forced on them from an early age! Good for your daughter for pursuing what she loves, even when it's not easy and not always fun. :-)

  4. I only just saw this Misty, but what a great post. I am always so reassured to read things by other Mums' who are walking the same path with these very special kids.

    I took my little giant to see the Sydney Opera House last week.
    I asked her to stand next to it while I got my camera out to take a photo.
    I turned around and she was doing a handstand.
    A handstand against the Sydney Opera House.
    But for us that is kind of normal.
    Lots of other tourists raced to snap a photo though...