I'll admit, I've judged, I've mocked, snickered and rolled my eyes...at other parents. They're typically called "soccer moms", at least around here, but they're there in every sport and activity, helping, cajoling, pressuring, buying private lessons, equipment to practice at home...and in some cases going way too far.
But I understand. I totally get how they can be swept up. It feels wonderful when your child succeeds at something, and in this world of competetive parenting, where we're all feeling at least a tad insecure, it's like getting a parenting gold star.
Last night at cheer practice, Emily landed her front flip. Her face lit up, and she looked not to her coach, or to her teammates, but to me, with that look in her eyes, that one that says "Did you SEE what I just did!" and the thrill of it shot from her eyes to mine, and I shared her victory. I flashed her a giant grin and a thumbs up... and I patted myself on the back. The confidence that I could see radiating from her across the gym is one of the great rewards of parenting. Sharing in their successes, from the first time they roll over to watching them thrill in the birth of their own children, I imagine it never gets old.
I'm still going to do my best to encourage and not pressure, and to help them make choices, not force my choices on them, but in that moment, I understood.
16 hours ago