But in the middle are the moms who can only hope they are doing the right thing for their child by supporting them as they follow their passion- even if we don't get it, or love it, or want it. It's not our job to BE our kids, it is our job to be their mothers.
This time of year a lot of young gymnasts retire. I watch their parents with a mixed-up mess of emotions. To call it 'morbid jealousy' might be most accurate. It is both incredibly frightening and oddly thrilling to think *your* child could quit. I feel like a 3 year old trying to grasp a complex concept: what will she do without gym?! what will you do?
Retirement is bittersweet, especially depending on the reason the girls are walking away. There are those going on to other sports or harder class loads or the lure of leisure time. Then there are those who stop because their bodies just hurt too much to keep going. Those are the saddest. Those are the ghost that haunt a mom's dreams at night.
I think as a group we moms question ourselves a lot. We question the money and the time. We question the driving and the coaches. We question the missed birthday parties and sore muscles.
On a bad day we even question the orthopedic surgeons and the ER doctors.
But what we never have to question is our daughters.Tonight, nearing the end of a 4 hour practice the head coach called out "take your last turns ladies." Instantly the girls began begging for more time, one more turn, a few more tries, please!!! Of course he let them because that is who they are. And for me that is how I know we are in the right place.
After the last turn call my child took 2 more turns, some sort of a vault that ended with a double pike into the pit. Following the team circle, the team cheer, and the tearful retirement party for one of Beach's beloved teammates Beach lingered on the mats. Much to my annoyance she chased down another team still out on the floor and joined them.
Every time I drag her out of there because I am sick to death of being at gym I say a little thank you to the universe for getting us here. For us to have found a gym where there is as much joy and celebration as there is work & results.
And of course, a gym where there are tons of glorious last turns.