So I was asked to be the assistant cheer coach for our High School Varsity squad this year. I love cheer. My daughter said she wouldn’t mind me doing it at all (pretty cool of her since she’s on the squad). We just finished up a week of cheer camp. For those that don’t know what cheer camp is….it pretty much can be summed up as “one week of pure physical and emotional torture”. You will be pushed beyond your emotional limits, your physical limits and your ability to refrain from killing your fellow teammates. This week brought back a flood of memories. But the biggest thing it reminded me of and reiterated for me is that women are badasses.
I knew this. I’ve always known this thanks to my Mom. But watching my 16 year old daughter BE a badass pretty much brought me to my knees.
I’ve said before that the greatest thing my Mom (and Dad) taught me was to value and nurture friendships. The relationship you have with your spouse or significant other is greatly important. HUGELY important. But unfortunately I come from a line of women who’ve lost those spouses very early. And without the band of women who they had to surround and nurture them through those losses…Im not sure they would’ve made it. Friendships you make, build, nurture throughout your lifetime, are the people who will comfort you when pain comes.
I watched it with my Grandmothers when my Grandfathers died. I watched it when my Dad died. My Mom’s friends are unbelievable. Angels. Growing up my parents always had date night and made time for each other but there was no mistaking how important friend time was as well. My Dad went on trips with his friends. Guys’ nights out. Happy Hours after work. And my Mom did the same. Always. Even when we were small. They found sitters or Mom stayed with us so Dad could go our or Dad stayed with us so Mom could have girl time. It stuck in my brain how normal this was. I thought all Moms and Dads had lots of friends.
So from the time our kids were born Patrick & I have ALWAYS made time for guys nights for him and girls nights for me. Always. It has been vital to our relationship and our overall well being. And I am so incredibly grateful for parents who taught me the value of that. And my second Mom, Lynda, who on my front steps one day my senior year of high school said “NEVER follow a boy. Build YOUR dreams and YOUR life and support yourself…ALWAYS”. Little did I know how valuable these lessons would be.
My Grandma and Mom were widowed pretty damn young. There is a good chance I will be too. And as shitty and awful and sad and scary and unfair as that is…..I am so grateful for the many MANY hours alone I had my kids, did it on my own, knew how strong I was, and all the time I invested in friendships.
So this week, as I watched 23 cheerleaders spend 7 straight hours a day, every single day with each other it made my heart happy. They bicker like sisters. They argued about who was doing the stunt right and who was doing it wrong. They gave each other black eyes and bruises and there were tears. LOTS of tears. But let me tell you something. They have each others backs. They will sacrifice their face to catch a flyer who is falling. They will lay down and let someone land on top of them so their teammate will not get hurt. They will give each other tampons and clean shorts and hair ties and share their water and pat each other on the back and cheer for 20 minutes telling their sister and teammate “YOU GOT THIS” when she’s terrified to throw her back tuck. They literally hold each other up. They hold hands and wipe each others tears and fix each other’s makeup when the guest coach is cute ;)-. They loan each other money and hold each other’s hair when someone is puking (that comes in handy later) ;).
So watching my daughter in this amazing camaraderie was pretty fucking cool. I don’t know what her life has in store. And that alone is awesome. I hope for her happiness, and strength and love and a relationship that makes her happy. I hope for her health and beaches and mountains and cures for Hashimoto’s. And I hope for her the incredibly deep friendships I have experienced. The woman-hood. The happy hours. The hikes with best friends and drunken dancing and God forbid she finds herself alone…the support of a sisterhood. There are shitty things I wouldn’t have wanted in my life. Many. But dear God I couldn’t survive any of them without my friends. My women. Here’s to strong women. Who can! And some badass cheerleaders who not only survived Hell week but are gonna KICK SOME ASS this year!!