I’ve Got Something to Tell You

I’ve got something to tell you.

Putting George in gymnastics ranks in the top 3 hardest things I have had to do parenting him.

Since he is not in daycare or around other kids his age besides in church, we really felt that he needed some structured time with kids. He is going to go to preschool next year, and we didn’t want that to be the first time he had a structured learning environment. He needs to learn some social norms like how to stand in line and taking turns, and you know not scream in excitement at our friends.

I’ve got something to tell you.

What I didn’t realize is that this gymnastics adventure would be as much of a learning opportunity for me as it was for him.

I won’t lie. It has been a struggle for him. He is very much used to one on one attention and guidance. To go into an environment where there were a lot of rules and 10+ other 4 year olds was a lot to take in.

He has cut in lines, walked off to other areas in the gym without his teachers, and also had a hard time keeping his hands to himself. And paying attention when there are so many moving parts in that gym is very difficult for him.

There were many days that he cried when we got there because he didn’t want to go, and then he would cry when it was done because he didn’t want to leave.

On more than one occasion George was not the only one crying.

I hate to admit it, but there were times I had to intervene and pull him out of the class to take a breather because his energy was a like a tornado  in a shop full of Precious Moment figurines.

I’ve got something to tell you.

This was the first time I realized in full that my role as a parent is to raise him to let him go. I had many feelings when I took him to the sitter for the first time when he was two months old. I knew then I was letting go of pieces of his childhood, but this experience has been different. I had to sit up and watch George just be, while having very little to no control over him. I had to watch him stumble and fall and pick himself back up time and time again. I had to watch him get reprimanded not only by his teachers but also his peers. I saw him be bullied, and I saw him be the bully. Being just a witness of the class showed things that made me cry on the way home and worry if we were doing things all wrong. I didn’t want to be that mom that intervened every time he took a misstep. I knew in the long run that stepping in defeated the purpose of him being there. There was no way for me to support him in the moment except by holding my breath and throwing up a lot of prayers that he could start containing himself and following instructions. I wanted him to make friends instead of getting laughed at for being the “wild one.” I just watched everything unfold from the bleachers. It was my Type A nightmare. I had to let him go. I had to let my control go and let George figure out how to be George independently of his family—independent of me.

I’ve got something to tell you.

We both grew from this last year.

Week to week, I saw George make improvements.

I saw him learn other kid’s names.

I saw him stand in line.

I saw him do “tricks” that he was scared to try that first day.

I saw him become more confident and proud of himself.

I saw him work hard to control his body and follow the rules.

I saw him start keeping his friends accountable to the rules like they had been keeping him accountable.

I saw him have a lot of great moments.

I also saw myself changing.

Over these months, I stopped worrying about what the other moms were thinking of my wild child. I started enjoying watching him just have the time of his life. I started soaking in how George is just as Georgie as he can be in every moment. I started realizing I was trying to force George into this perfect little box because of my societal expectations. I started relaxing and not dreading what trouble he would find himself in that day. I just let us both be, and we praised the wins and talked through the struggles on the way home. These days became our time together to grow, and I am so thankful for that.

I’ve got something to tell you.

I am so proud of this kid. This was a new adventure for us, and I am not sure who it was harder for. Letting go of our normal so he can start learning how to be a person was hard. Since he is home all the time, we have had a security blanket over him. I am terrified to lose my little snuggle bug, but at the same time I am so excited to see the littler person he is becoming. Most days George guided me along. We had to have some tough conversations following up on his behaviors after watching from the peanut gallery. I had to learn to navigate this weird area of parenting where I have to let him fumble his way through without wrapping him up in my mommy bubble wrap, and instead processed our day after the fact with “learning opportunities.” This parenting gig was really unfolding before me, and I see many processing car rides in our future.

These one hour classes where not ever perfect. But no one is. All I know is, he always went into every new trick with a big smile and great gusto like I have never seen.

Well except this time.

And this week was his last gymnastics class for awhile possibly ever if he seems to like soccer more. There was a moment where I watched him politely tell a girl “You are being mean and that hurts my feelings.” And then watch him quietly move away from the problem. Months ago, George would have yelled and caused a huge scene. Displaying his emotions appropriately is not always his strong suit. It was in this quiet moment that I realized even more so how every day now I have to let little pieces of him go so he can learn. I have to trust this process of growing up and letting him be. He is listening and learning. It may not always be on my timeline, but he is growing to be the best George he knows how to be today.

He is fearless and wonderful, but he is going to make mistakes. Watching this class from the bleachers reminded me that I cannot protect and shield him forever. It was hard to let that go because you want so much for your kids. And watching them struggle to fit in is never fun. But I also have to trust that we are giving George the tools to handle himself.

Gosh he is a sweet little boy, and I love him to pieces. He is just so uniquely George, and I can’t be mad about that even if it means he is not going to the Olympics some day for a great parallel bar routine. Our sermon today was about prioritizing love over rules, and gymnastics was our current real word example of that. George needs my love, and I need to be more forgiving of my rules, society rules, and expectations to be perfect every moment.

I’ve got something to tell you.

Parenting is not for the weak. We learn from them just as much as we teach them.

And yes gymnastics made me super emotional. But if I have learned anything through my walk with God, is that he will use random things to teach you and mold you.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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