Friday, March 17, 2017

Cheer Mom

If only I could go back in time to meet my 18-year old self.  Just for a minute.  I’d love to see my younger me's reaction when I informed her that in 20 years she'd become… a Cheer Mom.  Yes, young Christi, the anti-cheerleader, someday you will be coaching young girls on the proper way to clap.  Then, I’d sit myself down for a quick lecture on sunscreen and a heart to heart about Jesus before heading back to the present. 

It’s true.  Cheer coach.  Me.  Turns out, the absence of any cheerleading or coaching experience, a wardrobe limited to gray and black, and an introverted personality are not disqualifiers when it comes to being an assistant cheer coach.  Imagine my surprise.  Also surprising is my inability to say ‘no thank you’ when asked to volunteer for  anything at all.  Now, before you think ‘poor children’, I’d like you to focus on the word ‘assistant’ and remember that there is someone who actually knows what they are doing that is really in charge.   And she is really good.  I’ve been learning so much about cheerleading...just at a much slower rate than the actual cheerleaders.   Recognizing this, Real coach printed this visual aid to help my brain remember where the girls are supposed to stand on the court.  I love her.  She's the ultimate cheerleader and says things like, 'Wow-you look SO young for your age!'   So cute.

‘Coaching’-if that’s what you’d call the frazzled lady hovering behind the squad with a baby on her chest-has proven to be a difficult challenge-although not how I initially expected.  There is, of course, the familiar struggle of stepping out of my comfort zone.  Add to this the task of managing to grab a two-year old by her leggings just before she escapes onto a basketball court week after week.  However, the unexpected challenge I'm finding is with navigating the delicate balances of parenting: providing opportunities for learning but not overscheduling; raising independent thinkers while fostering obedience; discerning a behavior problem from a bad day.  A challenge I'm up-close and personal with as I coach my eight-year old daughter in a brand new experience for her.

After I had written these words, I reflected for a few days (weeks), neither knowing how to grasp this balance nor write about it.  Then came an unexpected gift in my mailbox from a friend.  A book (I love books!) with answers to my unspoken parenting questions complete with diagrams that despite hours of effort will not appear straight on this page.  Please be understanding and tilt your head.
If only all prayers could be answered so literally. It was the guidance that I needed to help me in my parenting intentions.  Balance is essential and stumbling is to be expected.  And how this balance plays out in our day to day families is fluid with ebbs and flows.  Here I go sounding all coach-y, I know.  But, I was reassured.  Reassured that while I may have missed out on the experience as a teenager, there may be no better season in my life to be a cheerleader than during motherhood.  Although I'm quite lacking in the actual athletic part of cheerleading, one can't be too critical with oneself.   Not only am I enthusiastic as a result of coffee running through my bloodstream, but I'm an encourager-, just as is every other mom who manages to coax sleepy children from warm beds to the school bus each morning with minimal dramatic outburst.  More importantly, I am a teacher and a student-and coaching has been a humbling opportunity to practice both.  

But, in all honesty, next basketball season I will stick with milking my goat.