My daughter, who is nine, is a gymnast. She is fairly competitive, and practices many hours a week. She spends every Monday, Wednesday and Friday night in the gym. She also goes most Saturday mornings. When competition season is in high gear, most of her weekends revolve around gymnastics meets.
Gymnastics is very expensive. I say this because I want to assure everyone that I'm not pushing her into something she doesn't love. Every time her gymnastics tuition is due I wipe another tear from my eye as I write the check.
And then I throw up a little. This is not a sport any parent takes lightly, because we could all be driving brand new BMW's if we didn't have to pay for the training. As parents, we make many sacrifices to give our kids what they love. And I'm glad to sacrifice anything if it means I can provide more for my munchkins.
My little girl is over the moon about gymnastics and aside from school, it's her main focus. Since she spends so much time in the gym, there is little time for playdates and sleepovers. There really isn't time for much else when you add in homework and downtime with our family.
The trouble is, when you're not at soccer practice with all the girls from school, or at playdates and sleepovers on the weekends, it makes you an easy target. A very easy target. I was in elementary school once too, and I remember very vividly how, er, pleasant some girls can be. My middle-school-self included.
This past year, my daughter has had struggles with friends at school. She has one very best friend, and this girl is amazing. She has a few other "friends" as well, and sometimes these girls are not so amazing. We all know the drill, because we've been there. Girls will be girls.
Unfortunately, this year all of these girls are in the same class. My little girl is in a different class. My heart broke for her when I realized this, because I knew it would mean more trouble with friends.
These past few days at recess, my girl has been playing alone for much of the time. Last night she broke down because when she approaches these few girls at recess, they have been walking away from her. Her "friends" aren't always so friendly.
My daughter truly only cares about this one very best friend, and I assured her this girl loves her the same as she always has. But this girl also has other friends. Many other friends. And sometimes she's going to be doing something else at recess, or after school. My daughter needs to learn to not take it personally. And as for these girls who walk away from her? They are not friend material.
Last night, during our heart to heart, she way crying. I try my best to dig up life lessons and wisdom when my kids come to me with these problems that I really can't just "fix."
I decided to tell her about eggs and baskets.
Baby, you can't put all your eggs in one basket.
"What do you (sniff sniff) mean?"
Let's say you have a dozen eggs, and you put them all in this awesome, gorgeous basket because you love this one basket so much. But then you pick up the basket, and the handle breaks. What happens to your eggs?
"They all break."
What if, instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, you put six in the gorgeous basket, and three in another basket. And then three more in one more basket. What happens if the best basket with the six eggs breaks now?
"I still have six eggs."
That's right. Your best friend is the gorgeous basket. But you need more than one basket.
She understood. After some tear wiping, I told her she needs to make more friends. She can't be afraid to approach kids and ask them to play. She needs to have the same confidence she has in the gym when she is at school. She needs to believe in herself and know what a special girl she is.
Today, when she was leaving for school, I asked her what's she's going to do today. She looked at me and responded, "I'm going to get more baskets."
That's my girl.
Parenting truly is the toughest job in the world. Cheers to all the Mommies out there.