So, our daughter has decided to quit gymnastics. No biggie, right? Moving on...
Well, it's not that simple.
She came to us about a month ago and told us she planned to quit after this competition season. It came as a pretty big shock to us initially. We sat and listened quietly while she gave us her reasons. Neither of us interjecting our opinions. That was all, she finished. Tears rolling down her face, saying she was ready to move on.
Well if any of you know, it's never that simple. My husband and I have talked and talked about what this means for us as a family. This sport has been our lives for the last 7 years. Not just hers, but the whole families.
Seven years of driving her to and from the gym multiple days a week (which is 20 miles away). We bonded in that car. Laughing, yelling, singing really loud. We have gym friends, yea as the parents of a small gym you make friends. Natalie now has a best friend who is basically like another daughter to us from gymnastics. As she is to them. Strange how you never think about those things until something is about to change.
Gymnastics has shaped our daughter into the strong, confident young women she is today. All the years of practice have paid off. She's good. No, she's not the best, but she puts it all out there every time she competes. And.. to get on those mats and be judged (harshly sometimes) is a feat in itself. I couldn't do it. I'd be crying after every event! But she does it. She makes the best of it and learns from her mistakes. She has built a confidence in herself that most kids her age haven't found yet. We see this daily. These are things she will not lose though. No, she might not be able to do crazy tumbling passes for the rest of her life, but the inward goals she has achieved won't be lost.
Now she's done... I guess I wasn't really prepared for this. She has lived gymnastics for so long it just became a way of life. We scheduled our lives around gym. Practices, open gyms, competitions, booking hotels, weekends away.
Last night was the night, she told her coaches she was quitting. It was official. She cried the whole way home. Now if that's not heartbreaking! She kept looking over to make sure I was ok. I'm pretty sure she knew this was affecting more than just her. She has her last competition on March 12th, then she won't be going back. She will hang up her grips and her leo and be done.
Josh came down this morning and said.."Wow, she has a lot of medals up there, is she really hanging this up?" I could see the sadness in his eyes, and both of us ignored the answer to his question.
So where does this leave us? Sad, sure. We will miss the friendships, the meets, the weekends away. We will miss the friends that Natalie has made over the years. But we can now find a new normal. It will be strange for awhile not having gymnastics scheduled in multiple times a week. No more killing time waiting for her to finish practice. No more spending weekends in the gym. I've never looked at this as a burden though. We've always just made it work.
We can start fresh. Spring will be here and we won't be as busy. We won't be spending our weeknights at the gym. Trying to juggle all of the other things we have to get done around that time. We can plan our weekends away where ever we want to go, not around where there is a competition. So in all the sadness there will be a new freedom for our family. New for everyone. I think we will take some time to rest though. We have been running this schedule for the last 7 years and it has become so routine I haven't thought about being home on a weeknight. (Crazy huh?!)
I feel it's so good for kids to find a passion. Whatever it may be. Natalie's was gymnastics. She will find something new, but she has learned so much along the way. I wouldn't have changed these years for anything. It has been quite the adventure. I wrote a few weeks ago abut closing chapters in our lives... well here is another one of ours. It's freeing and strange at the same time. But, life goes on and we all adjust. That's whats so great about this life. It's ours and we have the ability to make it whatever we want. So, I think i'm just going to be sad about this for a few days until we find our new routine! And that's OK!
Much love, Lindsey
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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