Thursday, May 5, 2011

tea leaves the science of parenthood

 So even well meaning parents can misread the prophecies in the Minoan Bull Leaping fresco.  (sheep: a gateway animal to stupidity) Mutton busting, running of the bulls, what passion could our child possible want to pursue?! Ah rocking climbing, sweet.  Swimming & diving, even better- less wear & tear on the body. 

Life was good until she wrestled her way to the top of the bronze rhino statue at the zoo over a pack of children desperately trying to not slide off & a man says to me “She should be a gymnast.” My response, “Over my dead body.”  As it turns out the man was a gymnastics coach from Georgia and we had a very nice conversation after I removed my soccer loving foot, cleat & all, from my mouth. 

I’ve have other kids I know they aren’t mini me’s.  Gymnastics. Okay cartwheels & stuff, cool.  A girl could always use some upper body strength.  Oh but wait this is Beach described by her coach as a hyper-focused perfectionist & now a year & half later we are staring down the date for the State Meet in Level 3 Gymnastics. Behind us a ‘gold metal’ (so cute) in her first meet as a competitive gymnast.  I didn’t know how the scoring worked but in the end I was informed that not only did she do well she had the top score on her team.  Well I be….a gymnastics mom.  (Round off. Step back.)

Did you know they take points away for picking your leo out of your butt during a routine, just a gym fact I thought you might need.   

I spend 5 hours a week in 2.5 hr increments bench sitting at Gymnastics Training Center while my 7 yr does a work out that would leave me crying face down on the gym floor.  And I’m not alone on the group W bench.  I have good company.  Mostly we are there for the same reason people go to hockey games or rubber neck car accidents but occasionally we are there to discuss this strange sport which has chosen our children, how to fix dinner while sitting at a gym, & education.

This is where we take a wild turn to the blessings of homeschooling.  Just past the edge of the State Meet in June Level 4 gymnastics is looming; the training schedule is M/W/F 4-7 PM.  It seems to be the line where you step up & commit or you slowly walk away.  Traditional school forces the hand of many young gymnasts and their parents.  Holy cow could you imagine the planning and laundry required to pull that off?!?! The car pooling alone it would take Stella Luna’s magic pot just to feed your family dinner.

In my bench sitting there are loads of conversations about how crazy I must be to home school.  The topic is an attention getter from as far away as the balance beams to the vault.  At the mention of it moms lean out to see me just as baffled by the idea of home schooling as I was about gymnastics.  But if I’m crazy it is crazy like a fox because among the parent’s of the upper level girls the conversations now start with, “Well you don’t have to worry about____ because you home school but we___” I like that much better than the ‘holy shit’ look followed by the “You do what?!?! I could never do that!”    

Look, I didn’t predict that we should home school so we could raise a competitive gymnast (Dismount. Finish. Pretty. Or is Pretty before Finish?) but I did home school to leave open the opportunity for something like that to happen.  Admittedly I wanted it to be soccer & the cello but whatever, it isn’t my second time around, a chance get it right for myself, it is someone else’s life.  And that someone is Beach the Brave, the hyper-focused perfectionist who (for right now) should be a gymnast.

Most gym days we take it easy. Math mornings, a mid day science walk, PBS, reading in mom’s bed, & a game or 2 of Go Fish. Three hard boiled eggs with toast, a sandwich, a pot of noodles, three apples, pepper jack cheese, & a fruit smoothie.  Slowly meander into the gym a predicable 15 minutes early for her 4 pm class.  Beach has already been yelled at twice by the other coaches to get off the equipment by the time her mates arrive.  Then there are those who run in late going from school uniform to leo in a mad dash gulping down after school snacks. 

Okay, home schooling isn’t for every one and neither is gymnastics (Hand stand.  Forward Roll.  Finish.)  Some days are better than others.  But what we gave up to home school never haunts me because what we gained as family and individuals is too big to ignore.

But you know this has nothing to do with gymnastics or even educational philosophy or how cool it would be to have a kid that could play the cello.   Not really. 

It is more about living your life out side the walls of an institution whether that is a red brick school house or a metaphoric compound you yourself have created.  The important part is the living your life part- whatever that means to you.  And never do it half-ass unless of course your leo has slipped up your butt during your beam routine then just make sure you perform half-ass loud & proud. (And finish.)              



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