Eliza is a natural born competitor. Unlike me, who suffers immediate gastrointestinal distress from the mere words, “contest”, “competition”, or “race”, Eliza gets excited and focused. Excited. Even if she admits to being a little nervous, once it’s game on, you would never know. She steps up to every challenge with the same happy smile and quiet determination. If I were a true Tiger Mom, (or even Tiger Woods’ dad), I would be all over this action trying to finesse my child into the next, great champion (insert sport here). Fortunately for Eliza (but unfortunately for the sake of endorsement deals), my competition induced anxiety exists even when I’m not the one competing. which means I’m only good for holding her coat, nervously overspending in the vendor area, and choking out a shaky “Good Luck”, before she departs my company.
Eliza’s cheer season ended with a final competition a couple of weeks ago. I’d missed the first one due to a conflict in scheduling, but let me assure you, ONE cheer competition is all anyone really needs to endure see in their lifetime. If I thought one super-peppy, high-octane, mega-talky 11-year old was more than I could handle, imagine trying to endure a 6-hour day inside a stadium filled with them. And their crazy, super-peppy moms.
I was never a cheerleader. To begin with, at Eliza’s age I was shy, nerdy and totally into my Charlie’s Angels Barbie Dolls. I was also super uncoordinated, kind of a tomboy, and not very popular. Now….flip ALL of that, and you have my eldest daughter. She is everything I aspired to be as a young girl, and the kind of girl that I envied. At 11 Eliza is athletic, poised, popular, outgoing and mature beyond her years. She is also gracious and kind and big-hearted and a hard worker. If she weren’t my kid, I actually kind of hate her a little bit… (more…)