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We made our 2nd annual pilgrimage up to Seattle for the U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Washington Open meet. Our son placed 7th in his age group. Last year, the big accomplishment was getting muscle-up for the first time.

I rarely see him practice during the year, like maybe 2x , if I'm lucky. So, during meet season, it's eye-opening to see the improvement.

It takes a tremendous amount of discipline and dedication to focus on year-over-year improvement. Our son has a great understanding of the long-view from his coach. He enjoys the high bar routine the most. In it, he gets a planned five-tenth deduction. His coach has opted out of the interim move for his level but instead has trained him on the advanced move called Fly Away.

Our son: "Coach says ‘Let them deduct away. The goal isn't to stay a Level 5 gymnast forever.’"

The heart in that statement. The wisdom in it. The courage to make the investment in your future. The loving of that routine the most, anyway. I get chills every time I hear his little boy voice saying it to me. Gives me some direction for my own training and my overall life process in 2016.

The goal is to get where you are going; not to stay as you are forever.

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Today, our daughter bought 3 books at Barnes and Nobles. The Fault of the Stars, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, and a book on Dragon Art – so she can perfect her drawing of them.

I remember being 12. Imagining my life. Reading teen romances. And, totally being addicted to Battlestar Gallactica. What a betwixt and between it is. Our daughter is rarely squeamish and is never, ever afraid to argue her point. Partially because she has a little brother and for better or worse, they harden you in ways that sisters cannot. Not sugar nor spice

She knows her teen stars. And, who’s been in what movie. She always smiles when she talks about Star Lord.

She went to the movies with her bestie the other day. It was the first time just girlfriends. I could hear the skipped heartbeats as the story unfolded, clear across the county. There’s nothing like shared popcorn, candy, and 2 drinks while your best girlfriend and you watch your movie characters fall in love. No thing like it. The one part dragon is the part that keeps her fierce. Struggling a little bit with why people wear make-up, or want to do a red-carpet theme at the school dance. “Honestly Mom, I’m not wearing a gown, not even a dress". I try not glare as I carefully contemplate a strategy for her outfit. She writes songs about heartbreak. But, when I asked her if she’s ever been in love. She says, "a very long time ago, Mommy". And, she writes songs about independence, questioning if she will ever get what she wants. All the while as we watch her grow, evolve, and blossom. Who she is becoming So what would I tell this lovely young being who is 2 parts love and 1 part dragon? I’d tell her when you find yourself, you’ll know that you’ve always been that way. Happy 13th Birthday, dear daughter! You are a dream come true!

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