Sunday, November 13, 2016

straws of gold

The woman leaned over to ask me, “Is your daughter still in gymnastics?”

Worn out from a long busy last 2 weeks most of it gym/work related I misunderstood her question, “She was this morning at 6:15 am for bars, then they have a ballet class, and yesterday they had a mock meet where a judge came in….”

She hadn’t meant is she currently in the gym at this odd hour on a Saturday night, she was simply asking if she was still doing it at all. 

The woman smiled kindly at me over her plate of delicate baby shower food; good salads and steaming soups. “My granddaughter she quit gymnastics… just like she quits everything.” She sighed. 

Until that moment I had forgotten her granddaughter had even tried gymnastics at our gym.  It had been a few years.

“You know,” I said from a very tired place in my heart, “with my older kids they were good at lots of things. I remember wanting them to find their one thing. They never did.”

I paused to take a glance around the room of young woman, young mothers, a few young children dancing through the crowd. A room accented in soft pink- warm and floating on the dreams of future daughters & all that they will become.

I remembered being them, young and dreaming about a life so perfectly set and cast. I thought about my advice card that told the new mother-to-be to sleep whenever she could.  Perhaps I should have said: Be careful what you wish for. 

I looked back into the kind eyes of the woman. “When you have a kid who does that, who finds one thing and won’t let go, what no one tells you is it really sucks.” 

I could feel my own mother sitting on the other side of me. “I miss the smell of the swimming pool, and Saturday morning soccer games, trying basketball and dance. All those little adventures ended at 6 years old when she walked into that gym.”

From over my shoulder my mom chinned in, “Misty played soccer her whole life and coached for so long.”  I knew she understood me. 

“Fifteen years,” I said.   
“All her kids played until Beach…”  
The woman took a sip of her drink, “Well you need a lot of…oh, what’s the word?”
“Time?” I mumbled.

She shook her head.
“Commitment? Sacrifice? Passion…endurance…perseverance?”

She laughed, maybe uncomfortably, 
“No, consistency is what I was thinking. You need to be consistent.”

I nodded and smiled. “Yes. You need to be consistent.”
She tilted her head, “I suppose you need to do other things too unless you are raising a superstar...”

I rolled over my answer but decide it was too much to translate, “We try but there just isn’t time.”

When the baby shower was winding down I said my good-byes and my congratulations. My mom followed me out to my car. 

“You know it is so hard what you do, both of you. I don’t think most people have the experience to really understand.”

I thought of all the other moms and dad who go down this same road.  

I stood in the street and told my mom the same worries generations of woman have passed back upstream to each other. I am worried my child is too thin, that she hasn’t had enough sleep, that she will get hurt or sick. 

Then I got in my car and drove home alone carrying with me 2 fancy drinking straws for Beach: one pink and one gold.

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