Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Olympic Promise; The Art of Solid Parenting



I like to time childbirth with the Olympic games.

  • The cubs will be born just 5 months after these Rio games. 
  • Eleanor was born just 9 months prior to the Sochi games. 
  • Emrys was born 6 months prior to the London games. 


And Adelia? 
Adelia was born smack dab in the middle of the Vancouver games. 

Perhaps that's why, when Adelia was just days old, Chris and I made a promise to our tiny 7 pound daughter. It was as much a promise to her as it was to ourselves. Living hand to mouth in Dayton, Ohio we promised, "If our children ever show extraordinary talent for any sport, art, or activity, we will sacrifice ourselves to help their dream grow." 

That promise, however noble, has largely been forgotten over the last 6 years or so. We're blessed with perfectly normal, average kids.

Then today it hit me. I'm about to have to make good on that promise. 

As Adelia, just 6 years old, continues to work her way up in competitive cheer and earn more invitations to advanced squads, we were given a few options for this fall:

  1. Have her repeat Jr. League, but in a leadership capacity and with her sister in tow. 
  2. Move up to Dream Team, as she was invited to do last spring. (Open to kids 7 and up)
  3. Join Jr. power squad and continue to develop her skills as a flyer. (open to kids 8 and up) 
We've really struggled with what to do. It'd be adorable to have her repeat Jr. Squad, since Emrys could be with her. And, to be frank, it's located the closest to our home and is an easy 45 minute time commitment per week.

We've really tried to talk ourselves out of Dream Team & Power Squad. She'll, again, be the youngest on the squad by several years. Not to mention that participation means a 3 hour weekly time commitment (at 6 years old) and a drive through the absolute *worst* rush hour traffic Seattle's Eastside has to offer. 

But then I realized... skipping out on this invitation and opportunity would be 100% and solely for my own personal convenience. 

Where would Simone Biles be if her mother said, "Ugh. MORE time in the gym?" 

Would the world know Michael Phelps as the greatest of all time if his mom said, "I'm not sitting in rush hour traffic for advanced swim team. You can repeat Guppies at the local pool." 

How about Aly Raisman's mom if she had said, "Yes, at 3 years old Aly will be the youngest in her gym class... and maybe it's best to hold her back to be with her age peers vs. her skill peers..." 

Now, I'm not saying Adelia is Phelps or Biles or Raisman quality. But, she's consistently being recognized and invited to "level up."

And, as her mom, it's my job to put on a smile, fill the gas tank, and truck it down to Renton in rush hour traffic for 3 hours a week... to help her continue to develop and see exactly what her potential could be. 

That's solid parenting. Putting her dream, her potential, ahead of my comfort.