I wasn’t in the mood to go to a wiglet party. Furthermore, I wasn’t in the mood to deal with Miss F.’s mood after that cumbersome looking hair piece was sewn into her hair, which she would then need to sleep with and live in until her cheer competition, some 18 hours later. Miss F. is the kid who goes on sensory overload from a stray dog hair caught in her shoe. Asking her to sleep with an artificial hair piece that has been woven into her hair is like asking a child who has sandbags tied to her legs to do cartwheels.
Part of the reason I was anticipating the worst was due to my own headspace. I was tired. It had been a long week, with too much running around and too little sleep. My new schedule was kicking my butt.
My big girl shoes were giving me blisters.
It’s also no secret that money has been tight this year – especially right now. Cheer is not a competitive sport for those who are “short on cash.” Every time I drop off Miss F. for practice, I write another check. Stunt clinic, choreography clinic, practice clothes, cheer sneakers, competition shoes, bus fare for the first competition, my competition ticket, the competition hair bow, and the curly pony tail hair piece, otherwise known as a “wiglet,” used to give the girls a more uniform look.
I’m not good when I’m tired, and I’m especially not good when I’m tired and stressing over money.
As much as I want Miss F. to win, winning meant the possibility of going to nationals in Florida. And your guess is as good as mine on how I would pay for that. Yes, I was aware of this when I signed up Miss F. for cheer six months ago, but life was much different then.
So once again, I try to let go of the money stress, for what was probably the fiftieth time that hour, and I take Miss F. to get her wiglet sewn in at another cheer mom’s house.
The junior pee wees were running high on adrenaline and sugar from the fried ice cream that the host family made for the girls.
We leave the wiglet party at 10:00. I am barely out of my parking spot, when Miss F. says, “Mommy, this hair piece is really bothering me.”
“Try not to think about it.”
Perhaps I would have been more empathetic, except her obsessing over the hair piece was interrupting my obsessing over money, which quite honestly, I wanted to do without interruptions and in complete silence.
When we get home, Miss F. gets ready for bed and asks, “Mommy, can you lie down with me?”
“I need to pack your competition bag.”
The coaches gave us a list of everything that needed to be packed in each girl’s bag, which would be checked in the morning by a team mother before the girls got onto the bus.
“Please. Just for a little while?”
“Baby, I don’t want to run around last minute in the morning. I need to do it now.”
I kiss her on the forehead. Miss F. sighs, defeated, and heads up the stairs.
An hour later, I hear a whimper from the second floor.
I climb the stairs and find Miss F., lying in bed, with her head in a contorted position.
“Mommy, I can’t sleep with this thing.”
“Here, baby, here,” I offer, as I prop pillows around and underneath Miss F.’s head, which, at the direction of the coaches, has been covered with a pink, fabric “hair style protector.”
I climb into bed next to her. While I can’t get too close to her due to the barricade caused by her fake hair, her body begins to relax.
She’s struggling, I remind myself, and it’s not the wiglet. It’s the stress she’s been under for weeks, to perfect their routine, to go into the arena tomorrow and blow away the competition. To remember to smile and not fidget, and keep the movements tight and in synch and to not fall when she’s on top of that pyramid. The wiglet is the obvious – the tangible thing that hurts.
Like the money is the obvious, the tangible thing that hurts.
For Miss F. to hold her own tomorrow, she’s going to have to live with this pain. And for me to hold my own in life, and to move forward, past my flaws and mistakes and my self-imposed limitations, I’m going to have to live with some pain, too. At least for now.
Let’s home that we both come out winners.
To be continued…
Part one of my Cheer Mom trilogy can be found here, on Shell’s blog, Things I Can’t Say.