Big Bad Gymnastics Dad

“You did not,” Tracey gaped at me. “Are you really that much of an idiot?”

I don’t know why she insists on asking me questions she already knows the answer to.

And in any case, I’m not sure she wouldn’t have done the same thing.

We’re new to the world of gymnastics. Although one or the other of our girls have been whining about joining for years, usually punctuating their request with stuff like, “And I don’t want to play soccer!”

That’s the thing with a large, one car, working family: you can’t always get to every sport or activity the kids want. Especially if you don’t want to. So we’ve tried, with limited success, to encourage our kids to play the same sport.

But this year, because after parenting for 20+ years we’ve decided we’re going to do better, and because we’re both working from our own hours from home now instead of in shops or offices, and because their demands had reached screech levels, we joined four of our girls up to gymnastics.

Which have proved to be both good and potentially horrifically bad.

It’s great for three reasons: the two classes my girls are in are once a week, one after the other and there’s nothing booked in the weekends. I mean if they’d sold it to me in those terms I’d have dumped soccer years ago.

On the downside…

If I lose at rock, scissor, paper I basically spend the three hours on a Thursday afternoon alternating between taking photos and vids of our girls doing things I can’t, and working on my laptop.

Like last week.

Check it out, I typed to Tracey under a short film of our youngest daughter’s walking backwards along the balance beam – because if she isn’t here in my place I feel it’s really important I should annoy her with frequent pings on her phone.

The girls do all sorts of things which genuinely amaze me because I’ve seen them struggle walking forward through a doorway without taking out a shoulder.

I typed some more before glancing up again.

They’d moved on from the beam.

There were four or five groupings of girls doing different activities around the shed. I checked out the area where they run up and do a cartwheel. Not there. The tramp area for practicing landings? Nope. The rope climbing at the back of the shed?

Holy effing shitballs!!!

My mouth went dry, all the moisture seemingly rushing to my eyeballs. In my panic it was all I could do to bring my phone up to take a photo, feeling I would need to show this to Tracey later on when I argued for enrolling them all back into soccer.

That was my daughter up the bloody rope! Not floundering about barely a foot from the mat like I’m used to seeing either. Wa-aay up the rope. Horror of horrors it occurred to me my girls were actually getting better at this stuff.

Then ‘it’ happened. From across the huge shed Miss9’s eyes locked with mine. I could barely make it out through wet panicked eyes, but I could tell she smiled. Unlike me, she was so very pleased with herself.

And before I could stop myself I showcased for all the other gymnastics’ parents sitting around me I really am every bit the idiot Tracey thinks I am.

“You were there last week when we were told never to wave at them when they’re up there,” Tracey admonished me.

“I didn’t,” I insisted weakly.

I’d raised my free hand and gave our daughter a big, encouraging thumbs up.

At which point Miss9, who was about two body lengths from the ceiling, took one hand off the climbing rope to thumbs up me back.

On the bright side, I’m not sure we’ll have to bother rock, scissor, papering any time soon.

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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