Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Gymnast Dad

My last post showed what I'm thinking when my girls are doing great in a gymnastics meet. This post shows the other side. I wrote this a month ago, after one girl qualified for the MN State Championships, and one did not...and after the daily early-morning training started to get to me...

I'm a gymnast dad...

I cheer, "Go! You can do it!" before their event

"Way to go!! Good job!!!" after 

I keep quiet 'during' so I don't distract

I keep score...

I shout encouragement at event warm-up 

If they're sitting by an exit door I'll walk to get a drink so I can whisper good vibes in their ear  


Inside I feel completely helpless 

They bobble, I get worried 

They fall, I wince, and hope the video doesn't pick up my whispered curses  

My internal dialog constantly debates the cost/benefit analysis   
...on family
...on income
...on free time

Is that cost worth this performance? 

I second-guess the whole commitment 

I want them to be rock-stars 

...when they're not...when they struggle...I get mad 

Not at them, but frustrated they didn't do better 

Usually one does better than the other 

...which is most of the time 

I hate that 

I feel great for one, terrible for the other
I end up falling into spiraling frustration 

I don't push them

Quite the opposite: I ask if they want to their face

I ask if they love it
...because if they don't, well, it's back to the cost/benefit analysis

What do they say?

They LOVE it!

They love everything about it

"Gymnast" is their identity  

They're working harder than I've seen anyone work at their skills and fitness

I'm amazed at their dedication of daily wake-up for 2 hour before-school training

Their time management for homework, fun, family, training is outstanding 

They are becoming young women of character 

I'm finding it is worth every penny for them


In theory the early wake-up is good 

2 hours of uninterrupted focus on work  

I just don't know if I can sustain it...

I'm so completely tired

Fatigue has set in 

It affects my health, mood, outlook...temper 

maybe there's something else lurking... 

Midlife? Loss of purpose? Lack of worth?  

(Maybe I should take up gymnastics)

I feel inadequate...especially at the meets 

I'm bombarded by the constant noise of the crowd and floor music

I fumble through conversations

The parents around me seem so much more 'with it'

They're living their dream job, engaged in their kids, balancing it all

They talk, they laugh, they plan outings


I keep quiet...

I keep score...

I cheer for my girls...

I pray for their safety (oh God, I pray they don't fall on their neck)
I pray this is the right path for our family

We have a long road ahead...

...what will we say when we look back? 

 Will it have been worth it?

I pray...

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