Happy Endings…Kind of


It wasn’t a pretty scene that Friday morning.  I’d like to blame it on a long week of
pulling midnights to get my editor work done, but by most Friday’s, I’m
tired.  My filter is gone, and one whiny
outburst from a child will result in my being less than compassionate. 

Less than compassionate I was, as I gave Miss F. “the hand”
when she shrieked over not having the “right shoes” to wear to her end of
season cheer banquet that night.

I knew it was going to be a problem, and it was one of those
problems that I begged would go away. Shoe shopping with Miss F. was tedious,
as often, her narrow heel slipped out of every pair of flats in the store.  We could take hours, if not days, to find the
right shoes, so being the less than compassionate mom that I sometimes am, I
didn’t buy shoes for my daughter to go with her fancy cheer banquet dress.

I suppose I was wishing for a shoe fairy, which fortunately
I found, when in the eleventh hour, I reached out to a kind hearted neighbor
with a daughter the same age, who loaned us shoes fancy enough for Miss F.’s

Still, I huffed in my mind, since on this Friday, after a
long day and a long week, the “fancy shoe” incident seemed like another
hassle in a long line of many
that I have associated with cheer. 

Miss F. disappeared into a crowd of the girls from her squad
as soon as we arrived at the banquet.


They danced, they tossed each other around (as cheerleaders
like to do), they sang Karaoke, and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.   These girls, after ten hours plus a week of
practices together, twelve hour competition days, and a collective trip to
Florida, were a second family to each other, and it showed.

The coaches led the awards ceremony with the music to their
routine playing in the background.


As much as I kicked and screamed through most of cheer
season, hearing that music made me cry.

I saw my daughter
grow in amazing ways these past six months, and much of that growth can be
attested to her participation on a team.

We all have teams in our lives, most of us have more than
one.   Marriages, family, friends, sports,
and work relationships are all teams.   Sometimes, the team work on one team is
harder than on others.  Sometimes, we
have to put in the extra effort for a team mate who isn’t towing the line, and
sometimes, we have to sit out on a play that we were excited for.   People leave the team, people join, people
get traded, and with each shifts comes a shift in synergy.  Sometimes the new synergy works and sometimes,
it doesn’t. 

I’ve played on winning teams before, and I’ve played on
teams that failed, and with each failure, I‘ve needed to look at myself.  Because when a team fails, it’s rarely the
fault of one person.

In the first cheer completion of the season, I worried about
Miss F., a flier, falling down from the top of her pyramid and being blamed for
the team’s failure, until a friend of mine explained to me the obvious:  When a flier falls, it’s not just the flier’s
fault, it’s the fault of the back spots as well.  Of course it is.  It’s a team effort. A flier can’t be expected
to maintain that perfect balance mid-air on her own.  She needs to be supported by her foundation.

I did a replay of the morning in my mind, the walking past
Miss F. with my hand up.  That wasn’t
being supportive of my team.  That was “I
don’t have time for this bullshit,” except not having the right shoes to go
with her outfit wasn’t bullshit to my daughter.  

Through the eyes of an eight year-old, the having the right
shoes was meaningful.   Even if the problem
wasn’t important to me, being on her team meant that I needed to let her know
that I understood that it was important to her.

After dinner, an ice cream sundae bar and dancing until 11, the
banquet ended. Miss F. was tired, but she was happy to have spent the night
with her girlfriends, her team.

As I drive us home, I decide it’s time to revise our playbook.  


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Happy Endings…Kind of — 31 Comments

  1. I think that this cheer season has been an incredible thing for both you and Miss F. While Miss F may have grown a lot due to her participation with the team, I think that you too have let go and wiggled around in a new role as cheer mom, as hard and uncomfortable as that may have been at times.

  2. Oh, yes. I’ve been especially short-tempered lately … and then my kids do something to remind me that they’re playing on my team, and then you’ll find me revising, too. I do think that I have a responsibility as squad leader to model behavior and give us a goal. But they’ve gotten my back more times than I can count.
    Thanks for this post!

  3. I can easily get into “Me against her” with my oldest – and just lock heads, then I remember that the shoes really do mean everything when you’re 8 – and even at my age, and I mellow. But it’s a constant toggle. I need to keep that playbook handy to remember to revise it as needed.

  4. It is amazing how much we learn about ourselves and our children when we sit back and enjoy the view. I’m glad she had a great time (and found some fab shoes to boot at the last minute, too)!

  5. I feel like I can take a sigh of relief with you with the end of cheer season. I love reading your cheer stories, b/c I feel like cheer is totally out of your comfort zone and something you do for your daughter b/c it makes her happy. You’re a good mommy! It’s a beautiful thing! Loved the banquet pics!

  6. I know how frustrating it can be when a kiddo fixates on something. My 3.5 year old is still crying about a missed holiday party due to illness. It is so hard to conjure up empathy sometimes. I really don’t want to do hear it anymore. Or deal with it. But clearly it is still important to him. It takes all that I have to slow down and look at the world through his lens. But when I do, I totally see the big deal.

  7. I feel much the same way at the end of my boys’ seasons- I complain my way through them, but am happy at all the accomplish.
    And I love your flier analogy- it’s so true!

  8. Revising the playbook is a good way to look at it. I was having a total meltdown yesterday and the kids’ whining over mundane things, like the stuffed animal left at their grandmother’s house almost pushed me over the ledge.
    I need to adjust the way I respond to a lot right now, for the betterment and happiness of all.

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