Last night was a HUGE night in the life of my daughter. Perhaps, even bigger was the impact she had on me.
Adriana had an amazing first season of competitive gymnastics last year. She came out of the gate full speed ahead and didn't slow down. She worked hard and it showed. In every meet, except one, she medaled or placed. Her room is covered in gorgeous medals and ribbons. She carried the title of All-Around Champion in one meet and was ranked 4th in the state on beam and 10th overall. Her passion for gymnastics was EVIDENT!
Fast forward to this year. Her room contains ZERO medals. She holds NO titles. However, her attitude today is NO different than last year. She is still the same team leader, offering smiles and congratulations to her teammates on their successes and pats on the back when things haven't gone their way. I think her smile and enthusiasm is EVEN bigger this year. The pre-season started with a significant injury that made Kevin and I as her parents take a step back and reevaluate whether this was the right thing for our child. We gave her the full option of walking away. She made it VERY clear that injury or not, she wasn't giving up. She told us she would come back and be ready to go. I knew better than to doubt her!
Every meet she has improved her scores and has slowly been reaching her goals. She has wanted to just finish this season as strong as possible, but is focusing on getting ready to hit training hard over the summer and try again next year. However, there has been one area that has been the thorn in her side. Bars has NOT been her friend, but she NEVER gave up. It didn't matter that she knew she would have very low scores in competition; she was willing to take whatever that was even though she had to leave out major elements. No one can count how many attempts she has made at "getting it", the extra conditioning, the "blood, sweat, and tears" involved. It didn't matter to her that we are about to wrap up regular season. Defeat is not an option!
Last night I had already crawled in bed and was working on the computer, knowing that Kevin was going to pick her up. Two minutes before he was ready to walk out the door, I got the sweetest little phone call. First of all, a mom NEVER wants a call from their child during practice time. Normally it means injury and your heart stops. I couldn't tell at first if she was upset or happy, whether she was out of breathe or crying....but then I heard the words, "Mom, I got it! Can you come watch! I got to ring the bell!" Ringing the bell is what happens when a gymnast has achieved a skill to the coaches satisfaction. They ring a cow bell hanging from the ceiling and all activity in the gym stops so that ALL eyes can watch. It's a PROUD moment. She FINALLY had her moment!
Of course, we had to celebrate with Sundaes at Tastee Freez on the way home. Her fingers were flying all the way home as she was texting all of her gym buddies that had already left. It was nice to see that EXTRA sparkle in her eyes. I really didn't know that it was possible!
I found myself unable to sleep last night thinking about it all. Granted, it was JUST A SKILL in gymnastics....not a HUGE, life changing event. BUT she taught me something. Here I am the teacher, but yet I learned from my student. I learned that failure isn't an option if you don't let it be. I learned that it doesn't matter WHO gives up on you, if you don't give up on yourself. It doesn't matter if your timeline has past, you still don't have to give up.
I also have been thinking about it in a spiritual realm. What was God trying to teach me through my child? He uses any and every available venue to "reach" us, if our eyes are open enough to see it. I think he wanted me to see that HE also doesn't give up on me. Just like I never gave up on Adriana, he doesn't just wash his hands of me and walk away when I don't get it right the first time or after countless tries. He doesn't look at me and say, "you've messed up too many times" or "you just never learn or can't get it right". So, I think through my 12 year old daughter, HE let me see that as long as I keep trying, keep practicing, keep putting in the effort.....He is going to be right there with me. Some day, I will have my "ringing the bell" moment......but imagine how it will feel to be in the presence of God and having him say "This is my child of whom I am well pleased!"