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 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 quit...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?