I needed to see it this weekend. I didn't know how badly I needed it, but I did.
And she delivered.
In August 2011, my little Firecracker joined a local all-star cheer team. That was my first introduction to the cheer world, so I didn't know what to expect. That very first competition was an eye-opener. Intense. Loud. Sparkly. Rockin'. You know, all those things I am not. I didn't picture myself in this environment, but it was a perfect fit for Sam.
When you're a mom, you man-up and join the party.
She fell in love. She worked hard, learned a few new tricks, then moved up to the next level for the 2013 season.
|two seasons of cheer.|
But Sam started the season with complications. People have been telling Scott and I that age 10 is the "season of anxiety" for many girls. But for my girl, it has been intense x 1 million. I don't say that lightly. Without going into too many details, we have struggled.
Early in this season she had moments of tears after practice and moments of peace, but she seemed to lose some of the joy. She was hesitant to continue, but we explained that a commitment is a commitment, and we would see it through. I said this before I fully knew what this was costing her emotionally. And maybe if I had been more aware, I would have let her leave the team.
But I didn't. And I am so glad.
Because Sam and I both learned that hard work is sometimes painful. We learned that the greater the difficulty, the more sweet the success. We learned to overcome. We learned that acquiring new skills is hard, but executing them well is the epitome of joy.
And one of my favorite lessons came this weekend.
You see, when we started this way back in 2011, we wanted Sam to learn what it was like to be a part of a team. This was a major driving factor for us agreeing to let her try cheer. To work together to accomplish something great. To put aside differences to achieve an end goal where every teammate plays a critical role. With cheer, it's not just about being able to do a skill, it's about being able to do a skill beautifully. Everyone needs to do their part to make it happen.
In the past, Sam has been a solo act. She's extremely independent - a fact that will serve her well in life, but only when married with the ability to work well with others. There have been times this year I wondered how well she was accomplishing this, given her personal struggles. How much did she feel joined to this team she worked so hard to be a part of?
And then this past Sunday, Sam came out with her teammates after their very last performance together. Ten times this season they wore those uniforms, exploded onto the performance floor, and gave it all they had. After this past weekend, five of the girls aged-out of the team and will be moving up next year. It was emotional for them.
And it was emotional for Sam. This girl, who I've never seen shed a tear over an experience ending, cried and said, "I don't want to leave this team. I don't want it to be over."
|2012-2013 season. keep growing, girls.|
She got it. It's good to miss something that had such a huge impact. To mourn the changing of relationships. She's not just a solo act, but a girl who learned the unifying effects of teamwork.
Our choice to allow Sam to cheer has come with sacrifices for our family. That lifestyle choice is not for everyone; for awhile, I wasn't sure it was for me. But there will always be sacrifice on the path to growth as we parent these children and help them become who they were designed to be.
For this season of our life, that took the form of glittery bows, stunting in the pools many weekends, camaraderie with like-minded parents (moms, why don't I have photos of us?), and rockin' out the routines.
Cheer on, girl. You got this.
PS - I could have added a significant tangent to this post, but will save it for another day. It involves coaches and the HUGE sacrifice they make to pour into children. I know because I am married to one (volleyball, not cheer. But that would be something to see ...). If you don't coach, you can't imagine. It is life-consuming, but future-giving. Major thanks to those who have seen Sam's potential and guided her for the past two seasons - Amber, Zach, Steve, and Ari - and all the CW family.