Jamie quit competitive gymnastics a few months ago.
It was quite a tumultuous time because I knew she loves gymnastics. She’s loved it since she was 3 or 4 years old. And she loved her team and her coaches. AND — she was good at it.
But something got the better of her, and at some point she would fall apart before going to practice. That’s when we knew it was bad.
We took a break, but she was still undecided and felt confused about whether or not she should return — until one of the coaches presented the option of “gym team” — which was the team that did competitive gymnastics for fun, if that makes any sense.
She agreed to try it and the girls immediately accepted her on her first day there. The coach stressed the importance of “fun over perfection”, but because we were so used to some very rigorous conditioning and training standards from the team, it just felt like — it wasn’t enough.
Well — I felt like she could do more. And gym team was timed at the same time as her previous team schedule so we would still see the parents and teammates, who all said they missed Jamie and were waiting for her to come back.
It was painful to think she wasn’t living up to what many thought was her full potential, but I kept quiet about it because I just kept telling myself — her mental health has to come first. I didn’t want to “force” her into anything.
It’s been a couple of months since, and the “confusion” she was feeling about whether or not she wanted to return faded. The turning point for me was when she said, “Mom — I like gym team because it made gymnastics fun again. And I was only going to go back to competitive gymnastics because I didn’t want to disappoint you.”
And that hit me hard.
Because I never want my kids to feel like they are a disappointment — since they NEVER are. It should never be about me. And I have always wanted them to do what they love, and enjoy it.
This weekend was Jamie’s first gym team meet, her first experience at a “competition”, even if it was meant as a no-stress, no-pressure environment.
Jamie had sprained her arm days before and while it was “no-stress, no-pressure”, I realized that she was still internalizing her ability to perform and get things right. So we worked with the coaches to modify some of her routines, so that she could still participate today.
And I found myself in tears multiple times because she bravely showed up, did what she could — and was recognized with the FEAR CONQUEROR award at the end, because even if she may have been nervous and scared, she was present. And she got past whatever stories were in her head and came through to do the best she could.
Most importantly, she has so many new wonderful friends and she is loving gymnastics fully again.
I still learn so much from my girls everyday. They are still truly my greatest life teachers and I am forever grateful they chose me to be their mom.