It wasn’t a pretty scene that Friday morning. I’d like to blame it on a long week of pulling midnights to get my editor work done, but by most Friday’s, I’m tired. My filter is gone, and one whiny outburst from a child will result in my being less than compassionate.
Less than compassionate I was, as I gave Miss F. “the hand” when she shrieked over not having the “right shoes” to wear to her end of season cheer banquet that night.
I knew it was going to be a problem, and it was one of those problems that I begged would go away. Shoe shopping with Miss F. was tedious, as often, her narrow heel slipped out of every pair of flats in the store. We could take hours, if not days, to find the right shoes, so being the less than compassionate mom that I sometimes am, I didn’t buy shoes for my daughter to go with her fancy cheer banquet dress.
I suppose I was wishing for a shoe fairy, which fortunately I found, when in the eleventh hour, I reached out to a kind hearted neighbor with a daughter the same age, who loaned us shoes fancy enough for Miss F.’s liking.
Still, I huffed in my mind, since on this Friday, after a long day and a long week, the “fancy shoe” incident seemed like another hassle in a long line of many that I have associated with cheer.
Miss F. disappeared into a crowd of the girls from her squad as soon as we arrived at the banquet.
They danced, they tossed each other around (as cheerleaders like to do), they sang Karaoke, and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. These girls, after ten hours plus a week of practices together, twelve hour competition days, and a collective trip to Florida, were a second family to each other, and it showed.
The coaches led the awards ceremony with the music to their routine playing in the background.
As much as I kicked and screamed through most of cheer season, hearing that music made me cry.
I saw my daughter grow in amazing ways these past six months, and much of that growth can be attested to her participation on a team.
We all have teams in our lives, most of us have more than one. Marriages, family, friends, sports, and work relationships are all teams. Sometimes, the team work on one team is harder than on others. Sometimes, we have to put in the extra effort for a team mate who isn’t towing the line, and sometimes, we have to sit out on a play that we were excited for. People leave the team, people join, people get traded, and with each shifts comes a shift in synergy. Sometimes the new synergy works and sometimes, it doesn’t.
I’ve played on winning teams before, and I’ve played on teams that failed, and with each failure, I‘ve needed to look at myself. Because when a team fails, it’s rarely the fault of one person.
In the first cheer completion of the season, I worried about Miss F., a flier, falling down from the top of her pyramid and being blamed for the team’s failure, until a friend of mine explained to me the obvious: When a flier falls, it’s not just the flier’s fault, it’s the fault of the back spots as well. Of course it is. It’s a team effort. A flier can’t be expected to maintain that perfect balance mid-air on her own. She needs to be supported by her foundation.
I did a replay of the morning in my mind, the walking past Miss F. with my hand up. That wasn’t being supportive of my team. That was “I don’t have time for this bullshit,” except not having the right shoes to go with her outfit wasn’t bullshit to my daughter.
Through the eyes of an eight year-old, the having the right shoes was meaningful. Even if the problem wasn’t important to me, being on her team meant that I needed to let her know that I understood that it was important to her.
After dinner, an ice cream sundae bar and dancing until 11, the banquet ended. Miss F. was tired, but she was happy to have spent the night with her girlfriends, her team.
As I drive us home, I decide it’s time to revise our playbook.
Where else to find me: