It is no secret around here that up until about a year ago, this momma right here was not a fan of cheer. I grew up playing sports, basketball in particular, riding bikes, and getting dirty outdoors. If it didn’t involve falling and scrapping my knees, well then, I wasn’t interested. Now, that’s not to say that I wanted her (or any of my kids) to follow in my footsteps, on the contrary, I love to see my kids grow into their own little persona with their very own unique ideas. But if there was one thing I hoped she stayed away from, it was CHEER. I didn’t like it as a kid, and much less as an adult. The hair, the make-up, the loud chants, blah, blah, blah. Ahh! Is that selfish? Sure it is, but I was going to dodge it for as long as I possibly could.
Zoe asked to join a cheer team a couple of times but our overwhelmingly work and school schedules didn’t permit such a commitment. For those of you that might be judging my very selfish ways and have no clue about cheer, well, cheer is a HUGE commitment from every single angle. I once mentioned that completing school would alleviate time, therefore allowing us to re-visit this request of hers. In the interim, we kept her busy with seasonal recreational sports. Lo and behold, the time came, I completed school and she remembered my promise. Next thing you know, we are headed to try-outs. I tried everything to talk her out of it. Yes, I know, bad momma! But the thought of cheer practice twice a week, for two hours a day, and insane cheer events, well, it made my skin crawl. Once again, yes, selfish I know. But I was kinda right. Both Zoe and I were diving into a foreign and unknown world. Zoe was to practice with girls that had cheered before (Zoe couldn’t even cartwheel) and I had to sit in a gym full of cheer talkin’ parents. Double ahh! We were definitely the outcasts. We stuck out like sore thumbs. However, as time went by, Zoe seemed to really be enjoying herself. I noticed that she didn’t really “make friends” (still hasn’t) and worried that this would be a long and lonely season. I asked her about it and without any hesitation responded: “I don’t need to make friends. I’m learning really cool things like tumbling and plus my coaches like me”. If she was happy, so was I.
Along came the first competition, and I’m not going to lie, I dreaded every second of it. We had to be at the venue with hair and make-up a 6am! I struggled with the make-up part but Zoe would remind me that it was just a part of the show, and that she knew that she was beautiful without the make-up. She says the most mature things from time to time, that bring me solace, comfort, and just simply make my heart smile. While at the competition, and being naturally competitive myself, I caught myself cheering loud for Zoe ad her team. I was so happy to see my little girl out there competing in front of such a large crowd in such a confident way that made me so proud. You see, Zoe is very much an extrovert at home but an introvert elsewhere. The only concerns we ever get about her, is that she’s very “soft spoken” and “shy”. Robert and I always look at each other in a very puzzling way when that’s mentioned about her because she’s possibly the loudest person at home. So watching her out there was an amazing treat!
An entire year/season has gone by and we’re in the homestretch. Zoe has a new found confidence that I really do attribute to cheer. She’s become very vocal and social at school, which her teachers have noticed and praised. She started off not knowing how to even cartwheel and now I can’t get her to stop cartwheeling all over the place! I asked if she wanted to join the team again next season and she responded to me very maturely by saying: “I enjoyed the tumbling and dancing aspect of cheer more than the actual cheer. So I’m considering just tumbling classes to improve my skills. But mom, I’m also taking into consideration that I’m starting middle school next year and I want to explore my options. I want to run for 6th grade President and join clubs.” Sigh.
Team Believe’s last competition will be on May 2 at Knott’s Berry Farm. It’s really bitter sweet for me. Who knew that I would actually become fond of the sport, YES I said SPORT. I didn’t make long lasting friendships, or anything of that sort, but I made long lasting memories with Zoe. Cheer took me places I had never been before, like Las Vegas! Ha ha! However, that’s a whole blog post of its own. But, for four hours a week it was just her and I. My time was devoted solely to her. I learned so much about her. Like how passionate she is about learning new things, and how she strives to perfect whichever craft she puts her mind to. Cheer taught her all about trust, strength, and team building. She could have gave up the minute she saw how advanced the other girls on her team were, or when she saw she wasn’t making any friends. None of it mattered because she was there for one purpose and that purpose was to learn something that was of interest to her. Such an admirable quality.
Zoe, I promise to not be selfish and let you be. I promise to support all of the endeavors your little heart desires. You’ve taught me such a wonderful lesson. This wasn’t about cheer, it was about us. It was about spending time together and getting to know each other through and through. It was about building a stronger mother daughter relationship. It was about making you laugh with my awful singing voice on the rides to and from practice. It was about dragging your brother to the competitions and annoying him to the max- sweet revenge. And let’s not talk about your crazy jokes and insiders! Everything about it was perfect, thank you.