For a few years Maddie had me fearing I would become a dance mom. So fierce was her love for dance at the time. A change of schools and a longer school day led to a separation from dance. Every effort made to join another crew was swiftly shot down by the little dancing girl.
Enter mommy guilt that our only child is not in any activities. Every effort short of signing her up and dragging her there fell short.
Maddie there is a cooking class! Want to go?
Maddie want to try dance again, it starts soon!
Maddie how about gymnastics? You’d love it!
Maddie want to play softball, ping-pong, badminton, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, ANYTHING?
Countless times I was this close to just signing her up. The closest I got was after school gym club with her more than amazing P.E. teacher. She’d come out all sweaty and happy and I’d start asking all over again. And she would start shrinking away from me.
Then I’d see her with her cousin building an imaginary world of dolls, Shopkins, and Tsum Tsums.
Then I’d see her writing a book to give to her teacher.
Then I’d see her at her Grandma’s house planting a garden.
Then I’d see her laughing and playing in the driveway with the neighborhood girls.
She’s not interested in organized activities just yet. She’s only six, I tell myself. But I see lots of first graders scheduled up and in soccer, gymnastics, dance, and a few other icing on the cake of activities ventures. So, I question and second guess and wonder if I should just go and put her in something.
The other day when we were walking home from the bus stop, Maddie says that her friend Ella is in gymnastics, can she do gymnastics too? I agree instantly and then the shrinking begins.
Only if I can be with Ella. I need a friend.
Those four little words spoken in a little voice, almost to herself. Suddenly it is all so clear to me.
I know that I could just sign her up and make her go. I know that she might end up loving it. I know that it very well could be my own issues at hand here. But I also know that Maddie needs a friend.
Isn’t starting something new scary to us all? Don’t we all need a friend?
So maybe gymnastics will get off the ground. Maybe it won’t. Maybe it will be something else. Maybe for now Maddie’s activities will be playing with her cousins, making friends at school, and just being a kid.
I’m pretty sure I’m okay with that.