For months we've sat with our hands clenched in our laps, holding our collective breath. Way back in May, this day seemed ages away...and that was a good thing. The challenges seemed overwhelming and the barriers unsurmountable. There were hot, stinging tears and not a few moments of desperation. (For both Norah and me.)
The desire and dedication were clearly present, but there is no way to simply determine your way through to conquering a new skill, especially that pesky kip. Fighting gravity and your physical limits is a nefarious combination that can threaten to bring you to your knees, waving a white flag.
"I can't do it." Resignation threatens with a groan. "I quit."
But she hasn't quit. Day after day, she stares at that chalk-covered bar and faces her foe. Up on the bleachers I sit, helplessly willing her with every ounce of my own body to get it this time. Sometimes she is still left dangling under the bar, pointed toes brushing the mat. But more and more often, she finds herself up and over the bar, an infectious smile on her face and a growing confidence. (I confess to having uncharacteristically whooped a few times, much to her embarrassment and delight.)
This weekend she has her first meet and the anticipation hangs heavy in our house, a painful mixture of hope and release. She will still be my favorite gymnast whether she makes it through her routine or not, but my stomach knots with anxiety, preparing myself for a potentially disappointed little girl who misses her own mark.
Knowing my Norah, she will walk out to the bars on Sunday, back straight and head held high with confidence. She will salute the judges and leap from the springboard to the bar and defy her doubts, maybe making it through the flips and maybe not. Regardless of the outcome, I am excited to see my girl finish just as she typically does, with astonishing poise.
And I'll learn a life lesson from one of my kids. Again.
|That's my girl on the middle beam, arms spread wide.|
Inspired by the words "anticipation" and "leap". And the sweet girl in the picture above.