NEXT week my daughter tries out for HIGH SCHOOL Cheerleader. There are all kinds of wrong things with that sentence. But basically it means I double up on Prozac, Xanax, whatever it takes to get me through the next week and a half. Because you know- its all about me of course.
OK the first and foremost WRONG thing with this scenario is that I have a child old enough to go to High School….what the shit? How did THAT happen. Wasn’t I cheering on the sidelines just yesterday. Damn time flying. So Im TRYING to settle with that fact…you know…that Im OLD. And for some reason my picture in my head is of my mother standing in the waiting area with the other parents getting violently ill with nerves. For four consecutive years. And now I am her.
When I was EXACTLY Maddie’s age I remember the 8th grade pep squad teacher telling us about tryouts at the High School. She told us how to sign up and the ONLY reason I did it was because all of my friends were. I had never had a day of tumbling or anything in my life! And yes I am old but not old enough that this was some popularity contest. There were actual professional judges…you know…because they’d given up their “amateur cheerleader status” after they cheered in the Olympics. (Eye roll). Whatever- they didn’t know any of us. I walked out there with my #11 pinned to my shirt and did what I do. Danced, flipped, cheered, jumped and gave it my all. And what do you know—I was one of 12 selected. And it changed my life. And that is NOT dramatic. Not at all. Ha.
Honestly now that I look back it DID change my life. I became very interested in exercise and health and weights and staying fit WAAAAAY back then. It also was the beginning of some amazing life long friendships. And four years of fun! I loved it. I took a lot from cheering. And it wasn’t “rah rah go team” days. It was the beginning of a time when Cheerleading became a legit sport and we competed at a National level.
And now she is about to walk out in that gym with a number pinned to her and I cannot even explain my nerves. She isn’t that nervous. Her attitude (or so she says) is that “if I make it, great- if I don’t then thats ok and Ill continue with competitive cheer that I love”. Im not quite sure what my nerves are about. Other than just being Mom. I am nervous because “what if she fails, what if she gets hurt, what if she succeeds, what if it changes her life, what if, what if….”. She is not me. Not by a long shot. OK she has just a few of my personality quirks- poor kid. But this is HER path. Her journey. The beginning of HER High School years. Not mine. Letting go and losing control is not my strong point. But Im learning. Its just these dreams and hopes we have for our kids aren’t quietly simmering inside they are SCREAMING and you just want to fix it all and make it all ok for them. But you can’t.
And Im so grateful that my journey played out as it was meant to be. That it all happened the way it should. It literally made me who I am today and I kinda like me….I kinda like her too. And her path will be just as formative for her as mine was for me. I am swelling with pride no matter what the outcome is. Because she is smarter than me, prettier than me, more talented than me, more mature than me…and that is how is it supposed to be, right?