Tiny girls in cheer uniforms, performing those incredible little routines, with their perfect little cheer hair, in bows and so damn excited to be there. Being part of a team of girls, instant best friends and learning the value of being part of that space, and being excited to head to the gym to practise.
That’s what I pictured cheerleading to be like when I enrolled my kids at the beginning of the term. Obviously, they were going to love it – I mean, they love big bows and performing, they were going to love it.
And they did, for five minutes.
Then They didn’t.
“Can you register me for something like pottery so I don’t have to run around the cheerleader gym?”
“I AM NOT GOING TO CHEERLEADING”, as she lay on the floor screaming.
At this point, it was nearing the end of the classes and the kids were fine tuning the routines they were going to take part in, so I may or may not have bribed the youngest one to get up off the floor, pull it together head to the gym. We were 30 minutes late for practice, the coach had already called with the “Hey, WTAF are you doing with your life and why aren’t you dropping off your kid” phone call, and I could feel my cheer mom opportunity falling though my fingers.
“Can you just go inside and buy me the bow so we can go home and play?”
As much I wanted the cheer-mom experience, they were hell bent on not finishing up the season, and so against my better judgement and for the sake of my sanity, I lifted my rule of “you have to complete every program you start” – just this once.
For a second, I wrestled with it – worrying that this was going to be the start of a trend that led them on a downward spiral their entire lives. You know, super reasonable. Then I realized something, cheerleading wasn’t our style and something that I shouldn’t have ever considered with the regimented schedule and must-attend classes. We’re more, go away for the weekend spontaneously or “Oh crap, we’re downtown exploring the funicular and you’ve got cheer in twenty minutes”.
Spoiler alert: she didn’t make it to class – she got hit in the face with a snowball and cried for fifty-five minutes. That hot mess was going nowhere near the gym today.
It turns out, cheerleading is intense. We had been warned – and so we signed up for the no pressure recreation time. Well, a bit of. It also turns out, half way through both of my kids decided that Sunday afternoon was for lounging, pants optional, rather than spending ninety minutes in the gym.