WIth the help of rest and strengthening exercises, she is recovering from her injuries. Her dedication and love of the sport of gymnastics is evident.
Here she stood, after her gymnastics class ended, not ready for the excitement to end, and clearly not ready to go home. She and I stayed for another hour to watch the team practice, both of us admiring the talent and grace of the gymnasts. As we watched, we talked, shared, laughed, and dreamed together.
These moments of connection are precious; I realized that I was not ready to go home either.
Yesterday was an incredible day for our daughter. Pro Football Day finally arrived; she had been counting down the days all week and was beyond excited to get out and push herself in the quarterback challenge, to run and compete in professional drills, and to PLAY FOOTBALL all day. I dropped her off at the field and had no doubt that she would have a great day.
When I arrived at pick-up, it was evident that she played hard.
Elated, she walked toward me and wasted no time in showing me all of her times on her player profile card. Her confidence was overflowing; she was energized and proud of herself and her accomplishments; she seemed changed by her positive experiences from the day.
I asked her if Coach gave her the football that she was carrying. A broad smile crossed her face as she let me know that she–and a friend from school (Congratulations, Michael!)–were both awarded the MVP award for the day because of a combination of their positive attitudes and scores from the day.
Once home, after a moment or two of rest and a snack, she and I headed to the backyard to play catch with her MVP award.
Watching our daughter work hard and find both success and joy in something she is passionate about is such a gift!
At the end of the day, our daughter summed up the whole day nicely when she announced, “Today was the best day ever!”
WIth their cousin’s Superman-themed birthday party coming up tomorrow, the girls and I have had a lot of conversations about Superman’s story, his strength, and powers. While it has been great to explore the amazing powers of Superman as well as Spiderman, and the Incredible Hulk, I found a few things lacking in our conversations: female super heroes and girl power.
So, this morning, I changed things up a bit and started telling the story of the female super hero that I know best: Wonder Woman. Growing up, I LOVED her and created my own super hero adventures, spinning around in my room, and transforming into Wonder Woman just in time to save the day. While pretending to be Wonder Woman, I was powerful and unstoppable.
I felt that the girls and I could all use a dose of Wonder Woman today; thanks to YouTube, we were able to watch scenes from a few episodes of the 1970s television show; it was inspiring to see another strong female (even as a fictional character) and now they’re hooked!
Today, we chose to demonstrate our strength and athleticism, we played and ran with determination, and celebrated our own power.
Today, was about girl power!
The ponytail is making a comeback in our house. I have to admit that I love the way our daughter’s ponytail swirls and bounces as she plays. I also have to admit that I’m surprised how seeing my daughter in her ponytail can bring me back to my days–years, actually–as a gymnast (in a ponytail, of course).
My memories of being a gymnast are so powerful; I can still feel the thrill of swinging on the bars, releasing my hands, and catching the bar again a moment later; I can feel the extension of my legs and toes as I leap across the beam; I can hear my hands and feet pounding on the spring floor, as I tumble my way through my floor routine and feel the power in my body as I flip through the air. To this day, I still remember my bar and floor routines (I even hear the music for the floor routine in my head).
As an adult, I experience gymnastics in a different way, as an observer. I enjoy watching gymnastics, no matter what the skill level. I delight when kids work for and accomplish a new skill, discover their own strength, and find the confidence in themselves to try something new. Most of all, I love watching children having FUN with gymnastics.
In my memories, the gymnast in me can still feel her power, strength, confidence, joy, and grace. Now, these qualities present themselves in different aspects of my life, mostly through being a mom and a photographer. My hope for our girls is that they discover and keep their own power, strength, confidence, and joy through doing the activities and sports that they truly love. As always, keep following your hearts and dreams, girls.
I loved being a gymnast; I’m still a gymnast at heart!