A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my daughter's announcement that she wanted to quit gymnastics. At the time, I'd hoped it was a passing folly; a brief adolescent cry for independence.
This week, she made it clear that she was serious about leaving the sport that has consumed her and our family for the last several years. We gave notice on Thursday that she was quitting her team, and I wrote about it here.
"I really have to say, that's amazing that you're rolling with it with such equanimity. Kudos to you for giving your daughter the space to make choices about her life, and letting us know it's not as easy as it looks."
If only that was true.
When it was apparent that her decision was final, she accused me of being mad at her, and I denied it – but I was.
I was pissed off that now I had to figure out what to do with her for the summer. And I was pissed off that a gymnastics scholarship – while I knew it was something I shouldn’t count on – was no longer even a possibility. And I was pissed off that my dream of watching her achieve her dream of gymnastics glory had died… even though her goals had probably changed a long time ago.
Most of all, I was pissed off that we were losing such a big part of our life that had become comfortable and now everything is just so uncertain – at a time when I really need to cling to what little stability I have. (Having my house all messed up has done a big emotional number on me.)
I gave notice to the gym on Thursday and started to cry – and I am still breaking out in sobs at times.
It was helpful to hear from other moms that they felt the same way when their kids lost their passion for things that had previously “defined” them. Soccer, dance, music… Kids turn 12 or 13 and everything changes. (One of the moms at our Open House Thursday told me that she’s still upset her daughter stopped piano lessons – and that was two years ago.)
I’m disturbed that so much of my own ego had been tied up in her accomplishments. I’ve tried hard to stay back and let her do her thing, but parental involvement is necessary when a kid commits to a sport like this – and then it’s hard to keep your own stuff out of the way. So I also feel guilty.
And I’ve been passive-aggressive with her, starting a lot of sentences with “Now that you’re not in gym, you have time for [household chores, continuing Hebrew school, coming with me to Costco, etc. ] so I feel guilty about that, too.
But we’re moving on. I sent off the check for tennis camp and have learned that quite a number of kids she knows will be there, too. We’re shopping for running shoes today (I am praying she chooses tennis over track because I cannot think of anything more boring than sitting through a track meet). Her father (who played tennis in college) is delighted to be taking her shopping for a better racquet this weekend.
And I’m contacting friends she hasn’t seen in a while to set up get-togethers (they are too old for “playdates,” but that’s the idea).
And I’m looking at the bright side: I'm hopeful that whatever she chooses will cost us less than the $7,000 per year we’ve been spending on gym.