No Longer Entirely Newbies

Now we know what to expect. Now we kind of know how things work. It’s not this huge mysterious thing that we don’t completely understand. It’s slightly less vague. Less daunting. Less panic inducing.

Yeah, I’m talking about gymnastics competitions.

(Overdramatic much? Yes. Yes I am)

The Princess made the team this spring and since she got accepted, it’s been a pretty straight shot of six hours of practice per week to get ready for these competitions. My living room has become a practice ground for handstands, I often hear roundoffs over my head as she thumps into a landing upstairs in the playroom. I’ve seen her floor routine so many times I’m pretty sure I can tell you where all the little dancey flourishes go.

And yet?

Seeing my daughter execute her floor routine, her beam routine, her bar routine and her vault in her shiny competition leotard with her competition hair do and her poise and her (where did that come from?) confidence – I was just stricken by awe at this eight year old child WHO IS MINE.

Blown away.

I had been extremely nervous going into the weekend – how would I feel about someone judging my daughter, what were their criteria, was she going to measure up? I kept my mouth shut and fortunately didn’t transfer any of my chaos to her.

She had been talking to me about which ribbons she wanted to earn in each event, and I kept thinking, “What if she doesn’t earn the ribbon she wants? Will she be devastated? And if she’s devastated, how do I let her know that this is totally okay – it’s not the end of the world, and that as she keeps practicing, her skills are going to keep sharpening and she’s going to get better?”

And none of that mattered because in the moment, she had the best time. She performed better than I’d seen her do before. I watched her on the balance beam – the musicality of her arms and the precision of her movements and thought to myself, When did she learn this?

And then I watched her do her floor routine – getting to see her round off back handspring (with a spotter) for the first time – as she’d only started mastering that stunt a few days prior.

I mean, shoot. A few months ago, her cartwheel was still kind of sloppy.

Before my eyes, I was getting to see just what The Princess could accomplish – what rewards her hard work would reap – the joy she had in a routine well performed.


I didn’t expect it would be so exciting.

We drove home with four lovely ribbons and a readiness for the next one. Back at it in January.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

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