Even though I was exhausted Sunday my plans for an early bedtime were thwarted by the Olympic women's gymnastics coverage that went late into the evening. Perhaps it is a sign of my age, but my favorite part of the Olympic games is now observing the parents. After all the sacrifices, the training, the coaching, the moment comes when their child must pull it all together and perform before an audience of millions. The parents who have been behind them through the years are now relegated to the sidelines to watch and to pray it all coalesces.
The most memorable part for me was the portion that has continued to be replayed--Aly Reisman's parents. Their reactions while watching their daughter's uneven bars routine on an international stage were simultaneously endearing, cringe-inducing, hilarious and ultimately, relateable. I recognized shades of myself as I watch my children perform in school plays, test for the next belt in kung fu, step up to bat in baseball.
Perhaps the biggest aha moment for me was when I realized the implications in other parts of my growing children's lives. They will most likely never take a world stage to compete for Olympic medals...but the area of life where I most hope they are champions isn't athletics anyway. I hope they are champions of heart, character and godliness. The very nature of those hopes means it will not be the big televised moments that matter.
As they takes steps away from me and towards their own 'moments' in life, I increasingly find myself coaching them privately then stepping back to sidelines to watch them put it together on the playground, on the ball field, in interactions with strangers. It is so hard. I get stuck in the toddler days of jumping in and redirecting. I don't like having to step back and wait as a spectator in the stands. Like Aly Reisman's parents I may find myself twitching, wanting to bury my head in my husband's shoulder, or yelling prompts like 'tone of voice,' 'kindness,' 'patience,' 'self control.'
I must remember that they are children and I am a sinful Mama. We live in a broken world where perfect scores of few and far between.
I am also reminded that lives well lived are really just the sum of thousands of seemingly unimportant decisions made consistently over time. At the end of this life, for me and for the children I am raising, it is the effort, the commitment to training and practice, the heart that matters most.
Let's do this thing.