I asked myself if in the big picture of life, did it really matter if Madison could do a cartwheel? If she has a burning desire to be a gymnast or competitive cheerleader...yes. Absolutely. If not...if her interests lie elsewhere... then...no. I can do a cartwheel. And guess what? It doesn't matter. I haven't done one in thirty years. It does not play a role in my life. So why stress about it? Why spend hours and hours driving her to a gym and watching her practice and practice just so she can do something that other people think she should be able to do?
Peyton cannot do one either. In fact, Peyton has no interest in any extra curricular activities. At least the ones other people her age are spending hours and hours doing. She doesn't do basketball or cheerleading or volleyball. Does this mean she is wrong? Or lazy? No way. It simply means that she has chosen to spend her time doing things she enjoys. Peyton spends her time at home. She is learning to cook, bake, plan meals, do laundry, and care for Flynn. Peyton spends her extra time babysitting for friends of ours. She loves it and does an excellent job. She also loves to read, and spends hours visiting other places between the pages of books.
Rhett does not play basketball. The horror, right? ( Insert sarcasm here.) Around here, young people start basketball in third grade. So, Rhett dutifully signed up for third grade basketball a few years ago. He spent every Saturday that winter in an old gymnasium learning drills and skills with every other boy in his grade. He came home with pages of drills he was supposed to practice in our basement every night. Never mind that our basement was finished. With carpet. We went to the final practice and watched as every single boy in his grade showed off skills and talents. We looked around and saw all the families sitting there as if it were the National Championship Game. And we waited. We waited to see if this was something Rhett wanted to pursue. In the end...in a word...no.( Insert huge sigh of relief here.) Rhett decided that while it was ok, he really had no interest in spending the rest of his school career playing basketball. And Steve and I were glad. If that were his true interest, if he had an innate talent, and innate desire...then yes. We would encourage him to continue. As it was, he did not.
His interest lies in something different. Movies. Rhett loves movies. He has a collection of over a hundred and fifty DVDs and watches them over and over. He studies the characters and the plot lines. He follows the story lines and character development. And he loves it. This is much more than a hobby for him. Because we allowed Rhett to follow his own interests, he found a place where he can learn more about the movies he loves. He spent so much time at the theatre watching movies, the lovely family that owns it asked him to help out there. He now knows how to run the movies and works the concession stand. He helps sweep up after the shows and talks movies for hours with the owners. And he loves it. Side note here...my dear father's very first job was also running movies in the local theatre years and years ago. : )
What will the future hold for my little Flynn? If I had to guess based on her current interests, I would say something along the lines of wearing a blue ball gown and a tiara while dancing with a handsome prince. : )
Where am I going with all this? I am simply stating that it is alright to say no. To all the young mothers out there who are beginning to feel the pressure to sign your preschooler up for soccer or basketball or gymnastics simply because everyone else is...you have a choice. If your child shows an interest in or a talent for something, then by all means foster that. Encourage it. And sign him up. But if not...if your little one really has no interest in soccer or basketball or gymnastics...then allow her to find what she IS interested in. And allow her to flourish and succeed in that. Just don't be pressured to spend precious hours of your little ones childhood sitting in a gym or at a soccer field just because you think that is what you are supposed to do. You have a choice. Put it in perspective. And enjoy your children's childhood. Because it goes by so very quickly. And your memories are what you are left with. Make them happy ones. Be it sports or art or movies or childcare...let your child find his or her own thing. Put it in perspective. And enjoy.
My dear sweet husband said it best last evening as we pulled away from Dairy Queen with our treats made by Madison. He said he was happy for her. Some kids have sports, he said. And Madison has Dairy Queen. And all is right with the world.
Last year with my working girl...
And this year...doing what she loves!
Peyton with her Flynn...
And proof of what I think is Flynn's wish for the future...
Because this is what she loves.
And because the world could use more princesses, don't you think?