Monday, September 10, 2012

Gymnastics as a metaphor for growing up.

I firmly believe that in order to be a decent human being, you must experience life. Like, truly and deeply live your life bravely, boldly and confidently.

Alex is bold, but he's not very brave. For example, when other kids are playing "throw the ball in the pool" at Aunt Jane's house, Alex is prancing around a tree, flailing his arms and singing "I'm running arounnnnnd the treeeeeee, Mooooommmmmm." (<--Which I LOVE and adore and will encourage him to continue to march to the beat of his own drum. So step off the judgment train, mmkay?) And we're learning confidence. Like when we're at the park and he has trepidation about going down a big slide...but then he musters the courage and does it and we cheer him on like he's won gold in London. #thoseparents

Because that's what parents do. It's what parenting is. You encourage your kids, whether they fail or succeed. And if they fail, you dust them off for another go 'round when what you REALLY want to do is lock them in a bubble for the next 10 years. Until other kids aren't mean anymore. Until germs don't exist. Until life is always easy. Until no one breaks their heart. Unfortunately, that world doesn't exist.

So instead of the bubble, I'm choosing to do the next best thing: Let him do everything in this world that he wants to do. Except diving. He can't be a diver. All I see is smashed faces into diving boards. No diving. I want him to try new things and experience things that are outside his comfort zone.

At 60 that might mean a trip around the world. At 50 that might mean white water rafting for the first time (Hi, Dad). At 40 it might mean a red corvette. At 30 it might mean becoming a Dad or getting a new job. At 20 it might mean falling in love for the first time. At 10 it might mean mastering a new Lego creation.

And at 3, it means gymnastics. Learning to take instructions from someone other than Aunt Jane and Mom. Learning to make new friends in a strange environment. Learning how your little body can do new and scary things. Essentially, learning to be brave, bold and confident.

Joe and I sat in the parents' viewing loft last week during his very first class amazed at how he's grown. Amazed at how this thing we created embraced a new challenge. He listened so well, paying painful attention to what his teacher asked him to do. He tried so hard, wanting to be good at everything and to earn the praise of his teacher. And not once did he look up to the balcony for reassurance from Mom and Dad. He was strong, confident, brave and ADORABLE.

I'm not entirely sure how I'll be brave enough to let him go for the many, many milestones we have ahead of us. But I know that I will continue to try to be the best Mom I know how to be to help him achieve any of the milestones that he wants to achieve in life. But for now, galloping around a tree in Jane's backyard is all the milestone I need...but this once a week gymnastics business is a step in the right direction.

And for your viewing pleasure... (I recommend making the first one full screen, as it's too cute to not be life sized.)

1 comment:

Kim and Steve said...

Adorable! My boys start on Thursday and I can't wait!