So, I literally had a whole blog written out to post last week. But, I wrote it, and didn’t like the flow of it, so I saved it as a draft so that I could revisit it….it’s not really what I wanted, so I deleted the whole thing and started over. I am nothing if not interesting these days….
With allllll that being said, here we go. <3
The last several weeks have been some pretty heavy topics. They were hard for me to write about, and so I decided to change it up and write about something a little different this week.
If you know me personally at all, you know my life revolves around my kids. The two Bigs are both so busy, and so involved, that honestly John and I have to divide and conquer a LOT. So, John takes Beckett to practice, because he coaches most of his teams, and I take Kenzi to cheer.
All. Star. Cheer.
When we started our Allstar journey, I only thought* I knew what I was getting myself into. I was a cheerleader in high school, and did a little competitive too. But, let me tell you something…..what these girls do makes what we did look like little league. It requires so much commitment, time, and athleticism that it completely blows my mind.
Kenzi did cheer for the first time when she was 6, and she did a show team. She loved it, but I ended up pregnant with Jensen during the whole season and had her right shortly after the season was over. I had also just graduated from nursing school and had to worry about not only having a new baby but finding a new job and getting adjusted to a whole new normal. We decided that she needed to take some time off for us to transition because I just couldn’t commit to the amount of time it took to put into it while I was trying to do all of that.
She ended up taking 2 years off. In that time, she did competitive gymnastics for a year, and while she loved it, she missed being a part of a team and the feeling of family that came with being in cheer. At the end of her one year of gymnastics, we briefly thought about transferring to another, more serious, gym to train. She made it through two practices and broke down in tears while she told me she didn’t feel like it was the right thing. For the time being, we decided to go back to Spirit of Tyler to tumble, long story short two months later she joined the team and the rest is history.
She DID have to learn to fly in a very short amount of time. She had never flown in a competitive situation, EVER. And most of the girls on her team had been flying for 4-6 years. There is a BIG difference in flying on a Show Team (which was all she knew) to flying on a Level 2 Team. She was a mess. We did privates, extra classes, and she was at the gym every time she was able. And she grew. It was a little rocky at times, but she did great.
During this time I figured out what it meant to really be the Mom of an Allstar Cheerleader. It meant hours and hours and hours at the gym. Most of them not being able to watch most of the time because practices are closed. It meant driving back and forth to the gym 50 times in a week because practices are all over the place. It meant killing hours and hours in a town away from home between practices because it doesn’t make sense to drive all the way home during a 2 hour break. It means watching your kid be sad because she has to miss birthday parties, games, and fun stuff with her friends because she has practice. It means watching her work herself into complete exhaustion for just one more full out. It means watching her struggle with a mental block for 6 months, knowing there is NOTHING you can do to fix it and that talking about it might just make it work. It means watching her be sore, tired, sick, or fevered and still go to practice anyway. It means watching her want a spot so badly, and not get it, even though she’s given everything she’s got. It means seeing post practice meltdowns because she didn’t have a good practice, and she feels like she’s letting her team down. It means drying her tears, and knowing that your approval isn’t what she’s looking for. It means hugging her tight after a fall in a performance. It means telling her that you are so proud of her for finishing strong, even though her stunt bobbled and fell at the beginning of the routine. It means telling her to dry her tears and suck it up, because we have to change and have another performance. It means running backstage to change hair and makeup for a different team in 10 minutes. It means telling her that her friends at school just don’t understand and that cheerleading IS a sport. It means knowing that she is one of the top athletes in her class, but also knowing that people write her off because they don’t see how much or how hard she works. It means pushing her, cheering her on , and reassuring her when she feels like she’s not good enough. It means defending the fact that you are a proud cheer Mom because people judge the her uniform. Or the fact that you let her wear makeup. Or the fact that she’s sassy. Or the fact that you let her dance Hip Hop, because they don’t approve. It means knowing your kid is right where she should be, even on the hard days. And knowing that the girls and people at her gym are her family and are the only ones who know the first thing about what she’s going through.
But, it ALSO means…..watching her make friendships that will last a lifetime. It means watching her make bonds with people that she never would have if she didn’t have cheer. It means watching her learn that the WORK IS WORTH IT. It means watching her learn what it means to really be committed to something. It’s watching her face light up when she lands a new skill. It is the look on her face and the absolute joy and celebration as she hugs her sisters when they hit their routine just right. It means watching her push through the extreme exhaustion, both mental and physical, to do what needs to be done. It means watching her learn that she is worthy. It means late night swims at hotels and pool stunting with her friends. It means the long days of hurry up and wait and competitions, but making the most amazing friends in the process. It means lots of sassiness, but seeing her realize that being confident in yourself isn’t a bad thing. It means watching her fight, claw, and push her way through a routine after falling in a stunt when all she wants to do is completely break down and cry. It means watching her learn the value of leadership. The value of being a role model for the Minis. The value of being encouraging to your teammates, because we ALL fall down at some point or another. It means hours and hours of laughing in the parking lot with your Mom friends while you wonder how practice is going. It means everyone getting into the trenches to get all the girls changed and ready to go between cheer and hip hop. It means glitter, eyeshadow, eyelashes, rhinestones, shoes, uniforms, bows, and big teased hair. It means watching her learn to win, and lose, with grace. It means watching her grow up on the blue mat right before your very eyes. It means car ride conversations where you solve world problems, and tell her middle school doesn’t last forever. It means being THAT Mom, and being okay with it. It means embracing being a Locked Out Cheer Mom and being proud of it. It means making a bond with her that is so much more than just everyday life.
Cheerleading is teaching my girl so much. But, I am learning right along with her. I am so proud to be her Mom, and so proud that she found the place that her heart wants to be and a place where she can shine. I look forward to so many years of competitions, long drives, and never ending practices. Because those memories I will cherish forever. To my Hive, and most importantly, my Moms….I am so thankful for you, for your girls, and for the friendship that they have. She can have the worst day at school, and the moment she steps into the gym, she’s home. And she’s better. I am thankful that they get her. And that they get IT.
I get really emotional about cheerleading and hip hop. I cry at every performance. NO SHAME IN MY MOM GAME. I know how many hours of blood, sweat, and tears go into each performance. And I love it.
Stingers up, Hive. #SOTWHERECHAMPIONSAREMADE