No Crystal Ball

It looks like soon we’re going to need some name changes around Suburbia.  And I’m struggling with the reasons:  Dancer Girl decided earlier this month not to try out for the pom squad and will not be continuing with dance, and now Gym Girl insists that this season will be her last as a gymnast. 

Dancer Girl entered the blogosphere as “Swim Chick” when I initially began relating the story of our family here on this site.  She swam competitively from third grade until she broke her collarbone at the height of last year’s season.  And then she realized she enjoyed having free time!  She thought dancing might be a fit, but found she didn’t really meld well with the girls who are part of the squad at school.  Plus, she found herself pretty far behind after not taking lessons since she was a first grader. 

I’m not as disappointed about her decision about tryouts as I am in her general experience this year as an 8th grader.  She’s struggled with her niche in the middle school social circle, and her academic performance is shakier than I’d like and than her ability indicates.  I have hopes that going to high school next year will allow her to turn over a new leaf.  I had hoped that being on the pom squad would give her a bit of a built-in place to “belong.”  But, honestly, I think she’s made the right call here.  My challenge now will be to try to guide her into some other activities I think would be a good fit without giving any appearance of being interested in her doing them.  If can pull that off, I’ll count myself successful in this area of teen parenting because, of course, just because I worked at the high school for ten years doesn’t mean I know anything about it!

Gym Girl’s decision disturbs me more than it should.  I’ve never believed myself to be one of those parents.  You know–the ones who are overly wrapped up in their children’s activities.  But I hate the fact that she’s going to quit gymnastics–a sport she’s very talented in.  Gym Girl’s response is, “I shouldn’t have to keep doing something I don’t like anymore just because I’m good at it.”  Well, of course she’s right.  And she’s not breaking our rule about quitting things in the middle of a season.  She just doesn’t want to try out next year.  Ironically, she wants to be on the pom squad instead. And she’s starting early enough that she should be prepared by the time she’s eligible to try out.

I’d been hoping to change her mind about this decision, but the longer we’ve discussed it, the firmer she’s become.  And tonight, I signed her enrollment card for middle school–without gymnastics as an elective.  Again, it’s ironic she’s quitting when she could have taken an hour of gym at school and shortened her practice time after school a bit.  But, the reality is, she’s just burned out by the schedule that has her in the gym from 3:00 until 6:15 every day.

It’s times like these I’d love to be able to glimpse the future.  I wish I could know for sure how to advise them, and even more I wish I could have the reassurance that all these decisions will work out for the best. 

But barring my suddenly developing new skills in foretelling the future, I guess I’m just going to have to step back and let them follow their hearts. I just wish it wasn’t so hard to start letting go.

8 Comments

Filed under Kids, Life in General

8 responses to “No Crystal Ball

  1. Rachel

    I think I’m glad I’ve been spared this parental struggle, because I know that I’m competitive enough at heart that I’d have the same “letting go” problems.

    I think its great for kids to have the experience of working hard at something and getting really proficient. But it also seems to me that one of the “goals” of childhood is to figure out your talents and interests and passions, and it sounds like she’s pushed gymnastics to the limit. But she’s likely to bring the same focus and dedication to other activities and they’ll serve her well in those too.

  2. Darci Dembroski

    Lots of good life lessons that can be gleened from time in an “organized sport” but let’s face it- few of us are actually raising Olympic athletes in our homes. I’ve discovered that it’s actually really good for our kids to be home and …dare I say….bored so that they learn how to enjoy “down time.” I’m still not all that proficient at knowing how to “just relax” and wish I’d learned this earlier on. Being productive and busy is great but there’s lots we’ll miss if our time is always planned out completely. Not a popular view in our society I realize!

  3. ramblingmom

    And now you know why lots of people go with DD2 or DS3 or whatever :}. Just as a favor to your readers, don’t change your children’s names at the same time.

  4. See, I went with the generic Sportsboy because it covers any sport he is in 🙂 I’ve thought about this already and amazingly I am totally OK if he drops one sport to pick up something else. He’s done baseball since he was 4 and football since he was 7 so I can totally understand the desire for something new. In fact, I seriously doubt he will be playing BOTH at the high school level so I am prepared for that change, though of course I will miss it!

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