There is a distinct possibility that before the end of the month, I will be a cheer mom, a fate I’ve actively striven to avoid since I threw out the flier that came home in DD1’s kindergarten backpack. After all, she couldn’t read them yet, and I wanted her to play sports before she felt pressured to cheer for boys playing sports. I continued ditching the fliers until the time she reached third grade. Then, she busted me mid recycling bin toss. When she said she’d like to cheer, I pointed out the conflict with her soccer games and swim schedule and asked which of those things she planned to give up in order to fit in cheering. Her answer? Neither. The flier completed its journey into the trash.
DD2 showed an equal level of disinterest in cheering, though soccer didn’t suit her as it did DD1. Having declared that she “didn’t like to sweat,” DD2 chose the climate-controlled sport of gymnastics to devote her waking hours to between the ages of 5 and 11. I’ve written here of my taking her “retirement” harder than she did. And, though I understood why she wanted more free time as she entered, I’ll admit her decision to join the dance team rather than the cheer squad came as a surprise. After all, she’d spent years perfecting her tumbling, a valuable skill in the world of rhinestones and spanky pants. But, ever the supportive mom, I signed her up for dance lessons, sat on cold football stadium bleachers, and endured the politics of the booster club–all a price that proved well worth it. DD2 excelled and made several new friends on the squad.
So, when she announced last month that she didn’t intend to try out for the high school squad, her decision to move on took me by surprise. But what shocked me was the announcement that followed–the new plan involved trying out for cheerleader. She admitted to missing gymnastics and knowing she couldn’t go back without being at a much lower level than all her old gym buddies. Cheering fit the bill of letting her tumble and be on a team without the full impact of training as a competitive gymnast. As usual, DD2 is nothing if not completely logical. I’ve tried before to change that mind once it’s made up. Eventually, I might even recognize the futility of that task prior to putting in the effort and energy of the argument.
Cheer tryouts began today. My 87-pound daughter has spent the last few weeks both being flung about in the air by other girls and launching herself through assorted challenging tumbling combinations. And, come next Thursday, I’m pretty sure I’ll begin a new phase in my life–one I’d hoped to avoid not just during the last sixteen years I’ve spent as the mother of girls but ever since I lived in close proximity to the unfolding Texas case that gave all such mothers a bad name. Yes, LSM–Cheer Mom. Wish me luck. (Oh, and I guess you should wish DD2 luck also. At least I think you should!)