The giving ended at midnight and it's taken me a couple of days to catch up on my sleep.
Age is getting to me a little.
Which brings me to the topic at hand.
When our second child was born and the doctor said, "It's a GIRL"! I was overwhelmed with joy. Really. At the same time, however, I could feel a tiny kernel of dread plant itself in the deep places of my soul,. When our fourth was born and she too was without male parts, I felt the kernel grow - into a giant redwood of anxiety - even in the hospital. My fear was over a question I knew would someday come and the thought of it twisted my stomach in knots. In spite of some pretty serious painkillers.
That tree of fear has been quietly dormant all these years as I have somehow, mercifully, escaped the dreaded question. But as of this fall, it's no longer one I can avoid - it has come to the forefront of my daughter's mind and I must face it head on, with courage and strength.
The question came to me innocently in late August over a Cherry Limeade...
"Mom, can you teach me how to do a cartwheel?"
If you've known me for longer than five minutes - especially if you've walked 15 feet with me while talking - you know I am incredibly uncoordinated. I've said before that I was never a cheerleader and I wasn't kidding. Like, I wasn't 'almost a cheerleader', I really sucked. I actually tried out my freshman year of high school. It was a huge mercy to my self esteem that Simon Cowell-esq judging was not setting the tone for high school cheerleader tryouts. It would have been real ugly. They might have asked me if this were some kind of joke. Unfortunately for them, it was not.
If I'm perfectly honest, my bangs may have been the lynchpin that led to my complete failure. There's not enough Aussie Scrunch Spray in the world that can withstand a cartwheel in a crowded gym on a humid Houston afternoon and that gave me added angst. Looking back, it's a miracle that I didn't hurt someone. A miracle and a mercy.
So, when Sadie decided she wanted to try tumbling this fall instead of soccer, I was all for it. Obviously. Who with my un-athletic past wouldn't be? I only tried to subtly talk her out of it for two weeks - with bribing and begging. Unfortunately, we were on the heels of the Olympics and all the spunk and sass of the American team.
Thanks for nothing, Gabby.
After her first tumbling class, I was trying to help her, you know, kind of spot her - and accidentally almost died. As she flipped over, she kicked me in the face so hard I almost blacked out. Seriously, stars. I'm no medical doctor but I was 87% sure she'd broken my jaw. She started crying and frantically asking me if I was OK and I knew I needed to comfort her but, for a minute, I couldn't remember her name. Or mine. Or why I was on the ground. The upside is that I didn't think about my bangs for a second so at least there's been some growth there.
So here we are, a month in to tumbling 101 and it would appear Sadie is somewhat behind in her skillz. She's been instructed by her coach to practice her handstands and cartwheels at home which has made me rethink repainting the walls for the moment. She's a fighter and determined to get caught up with her class which is exactly opposite of what her momma would have done. My version might have looked a little more like a couch, cookie dough, and another episode of Friday Night Lights.
So, we're both learning. Our spunky optimistic kid is learning as other friends advance a little more quickly, that comparison really is a thief. In fact, the other day, after her buddy got moved up to a little more advanced group, she said through tears, "Mom, I'm working so hard and they are just pooing on my joy"! But through all the joy pooing, she's also learning some of life's great lessons - His timing is not always our timing, getting to celebrate a friend's victory is a privilege, and patience is often learned the hard way. I'm proud of that little redhead - she's one tough cookie.
And I've learned to give her a little more room. Roughly, 10 feet or so.