Last weekend the high school cheerleaders in our town hosted a cheer leading clinic for little girls. It was a fund raiser for them and opportunity for the girls to learn some cheers. You’re probably not surprised when I emphasize that I am so not the cheerleader kinda gal, but my first grader jumped at this opportunity and counted down the days until the event.
However, on the day of, as we entered the large, loud high school gymnasium, I sensed a shift in my previously excited girl.
The cheerleaders were amazing and friendly and engaging as we checked in, but my daughter was now clutching my hand with both of hers. My daughter spotted several friends and classmates who warmly greeted her but she, on the other hand, became completely non verbal.
I saw many of my friends drop their happy daughters off and leave, all while my daughter insisted I stay close, now crying off and on. I struggled with whether or not to leave. Was my presence making her worse?
After speaking to a person in charge and jotting down my number I did tentatively leave.
Fifteen minutes later I was re-entering the gymnasium to see my daughter seated and crying. She was unable to articulate why she was crying or what in particular was upsetting her. But she was clear that she didn’t want to go home.
So we sat on the sidelines and watched. After awhile I asked her if she’d like to rejoin her friends while they ate snack and watched the cheerleaders perform.
And then she snapped back into a happy girl…a cheerleader!
Looking at her for the next hour, one would never have guessed that she spent the first part of the clinic in tears.
I certainly didn’t anticipate spending the afternoon crouching on the floor of a noisy high school gym. But I can tell you that I don’t think there’s ever been a prouder mom or a more special cheerleader (who’s already talking about how she can’t wait til next year’s clinic!)