Monday, April 30, 2012

She's Hit Her Stride

When I was a kid,
I was given every opportunity to try whatever activities I wanted.
Gymnastics, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Swimming, Diving, Horse back riding, and various school sports.

The first thing I tried when I was quite young, was gymnastics.
I was placed with older girls (I was tall for my age)
and one in particular was a terrible bully;
for whatever reason she singled me out.

It wasn't overt bullying but I knew without a doubt that she did not like me.
Even though there was a great coach and other nice girls,
my memories of gymnastics will unfortunately always be coloured by this girl.

I learned how to do back walk overs and back handsprings.
I was graceful but not as strong as I needed to be to do some of the tricks.
But all I remember is the awful feelings I had when this girl was around,
and also that my wrists were always sore from the pounding.

So when Middlest showed interest in gymnastics I was less than enthusiastic.
Obviously my neutrality was a little skewed.
But she insisted 
and I relented.

Middlest was struggling.
She needed to find something to call her own.
She was an extremely talented soccer player, and she loved the game,
until her late onset asthma stopped her in her tracks.

So even though she was older, she decided to give gymastics a try.
Strength, stamina and flexibility over running.
It seemed like a good choice.

Gymnastics has indeed changed over the years.
I was pleased to see how much safer the sport had become.
No longer was a thin mat laid down over a gym floor,
but instead a state of the art thick forgiving firm cushioned floor was being used.

During the six weeks of classes Middlest came to some conclusions.
She realized if she were to do well at this sport she would have to work doubly hard.
Her tall willowy physique made it harder  for her to complete some of the skills.

She kept telling me about another younger girl in her class that was perfect for gymnastics.
When she finished her final class performance
she asked me if I had seen "the girl to my left."
"Now mom, she is built for gymnastics."

After considering her strengths she decided not to continue.
I have to admit, I am relieved gymnastics will not be a part of our life.
I'm more of a team sports kind of gal.
Of course though, had this been Middlest's one true love?
I would have supported her in any way I could.

I am particularly relieved that her decision was made because
I was open to saying "Yes."
She won't have to look back and remember she didn't have the opportunity
simply because mom said "No."

Isabelle Gymnastics
She realized it would take years before she might be able to compete.
And many of her friends were already too far ahead to catch up to.

One of the hardest things about parenting for me?  Is letting go.
When I do though?
It's when I feel the happiest as a mother.

Because that is when my girls figure out how to make great decisions.
Even hard decisions.
And it makes me proud to see them learn and grow.

Middlest decided not to continue with gymnastics.
But while she was disappointed as well as frustrated...
in just a few short months she has hit her stride and found a new love.

One that a tall willowy physique just happens to be perfect for.


***Thank you to K's dad for sharing this awesome Volleyball "Sweet Shot".
      (Mom forgot her camera)

Sweet Shot Day 

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  1. Volleyball! Perfect.


  2. Oh that is perfect. I didn't have any opportunity for outside interests that cost money when I was growing up. I wanted to dance or do gymnastics so badly. Sometimes I feel I never found my thing and I really would love that for my kids - to find that thing for them that they love so much, and I hope I've given them that freedom to choose. xo

  3. I tried gymnastics too...and was terrible! I was so intimidated by the other girls who were so much better. I don't think I gave it more than a month! Yay for middlest for finding a better fit! She sure looks like a natural in that picture!

  4. OH gymnastics.... a subject we try to avoid in our home. Our eldest went out for gymnastics when he was 10... and he was a natural. In fact he was asked to join the competitive team just two months after he started, he lived and breathed gymnastics. And then the unthinkable happened... we moved.... 4000 miles.... to Alaska where the closest boys gymnastics was 80 miles away and they had no competitive team. So he took up Tae Kwon Do instead... and loved it! (to this day he really wishes he could have continued in gymnastics because he has the perfect build... at 5 feet 7 inches!)

    But volleyball... I LOVE watching volleyball! The girls that play simply amaze me! Good for her for finding she truly enjoys doing!! And good for you for allowing her to try the gymnastics!

  5. Finding the perfect fit for each child is amazing isn't it!! Love that last photo!

  6. such a happy ending, dana, and yes it really is an amazing feeling when they find that "stride" :) ... and btw, that last photo of middlest? holy cow - a.m.a.z.i.n.g!!

  7. Oh Yay! Super high fives all around!
    She is gonna be amazing!
    Volleyball is the best!

  8. Volleyball is perfect for her build. And she definitely looks at home in that photo. I think it's great that you were able to step back and let her find her own way with this choice.

    What I also get from this post which is sooooo GREAT is that your daughter has a real ability to gauge her strengths and weaknesses, to be honest with herself, and move forward accordingly. I DO NOT possess this awesome quality and therefore notice and admire it in others. Can your daughter come over and play with my kids?

    Thanks for your awesome comment on my post about punching and spirited youngsters. I really appreciate your perspective.

  9. Loved your post. You were totally there for your daughter. You supported her. Can I hear an M! An O! An M! Yay MOM!

  10. AnonymousMay 01, 2012

    She's definitely got the equipment for that job! Dang, to be tall and willowy. Sigh.

    This is a great post about great parenting.

  11. I am going through the same thing with my youngest; I hope we find a soft landing soon!
    Go Willow!!

  12. She looks like a natural volleyball player!

    It's hard not to let our own experiences cloud our parenting judgement. Good for you for stepping back and let her find her passion - no matter what it might be.

  13. Aw good for the both of you! Sounds like you handled it perfectly.

  14. Oh I love it! And what an awesome mom you are supporting her in everything! :)

    Having Fun Creating with Clay

  15. It's so great that she gave it shot. Now she'll never have to say what if, or I wish I had tried. She looks like a natural at volleyball. Go Middlest!

  16. I want to find a new love for my girls! They're still trying to figure it out. Both have been through gymnastics, and enjoyed it, but didn't love it. I'm not sure what we'll move onto next year. I'm glad your girl found the right thing for her!

  17. High Fives for Finding her Stride!

  18. It really feels good when your kids find that pefect fit for them. We as parents can push them into what we think is best for them, but ultimately, they have to choose what suits their own individual style.

  19. Good job, mama! Wonderful post and I love your photos; the in-focus subject and soft-focus extraneous stuff is great.

  20. Volleyball is perfect! I love how this story ended--and how you both grew!

  21. Yay that it is volleyball! I love volleyball. My daughter is so athletic but I can only get her into dance. I wish she would try some other sports. But it's her life to bloom in. I will just watch and encourage.

  22. I love this post! Hooray for her for making this decision on her own and for not giving up and finding something she is awesome at! The younger two Dudes are in gymnastics. #2 is a great fit. #3 not so much. He is the biggest kid in the class by far. And, while he is awesome at all of the skills at the 4 year old level, it's clear that they will need to raise the rings 10 inches when he makes it to that point. Fortunately, he's also amazing at soccer and basketball.

  23. I was about to jump in with swimming, until I read and saw that fabulous shot on the volleyball court. You're a great Mom, Dana.

  24. Its hard with tall girls...i have two, one is 6 ft and the other 5'11". They were in ballet and found their height did no help. One plays basketball, swims and is on a gold level track team while the other plays soccer and runs as well! I wish they had played volleyball though- perfect sport for the willowy!

    You are a fabulous mom :)

  25. You rock, Dana! Major kudos to you for letting her try. And to her too for realizing it wasn't her thing. Now volleyball? She looks like a total natural. Awesome!


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