I would like to begin this post by sharing that my hurt feelings due to Riley's "Daddy's my favourite", have temporarily scabbed over. I have to admit, it really stung for a bit, although I'm not sure why. You would think that after 17 and a half years of parenting, I would have grown a thicker skin.... but I haven't.
Yesterday afternoon I took Riley and Rowan for their tumbling class. Riley took gymnastics two years ago, and decided that she would like to go back to dance. It's funny, because originally I had been resistant to say the least to Riley taking gymnastics. My niece Sienna (12) does competitive gymnastics, Riley saw her practicing one summer, and harassed me to take gymnastics from that second forward. She was relentless. Our nearest gymnastics club is in Belleville, which is 45 minutes away from us. To me that is a big time commitment on my part (notice that I said "on my part", because around these parts I'm the cheuffeur). I did not want to drive to Belleville once a week and wait around for an hour and a half. I kept putting her off... for at least 6 months. One night I lay in bed thinking about it. It occurred to me that Riley was built like a gymnast. She is very athletic, and flexible. What if she had "it". What if she had the potential to be so good that she could make it to the Olympics. What if she had the potential that was unmet because her mother was too selfish and lazy to take 3 hours out of her week for her daughter? So the next gymnastics session, I signed Riley up. I stood watching her from the observation window with this big stupid grin and simultaneously teary eyed. She was good, she was really good. I derived great joy watching her. At the end of the first session she told me that she didn't want to take it any more. WHAT? It turns out the girls in her class were not very good listeners and were constantly acting up. Riley is a real law and order kid. She could not take the disruption. She loved the actual gymnastics, but hated the kids she took it with. We moved her to a different class. In the end there were not enough kids in the classes, so they moved them all back together. Riley decided that after her first year, she would like to go back to dance. It was a funny turn of events, because it was me harassing Riley to continue with gymnastics. In the end, dance won.
Rowan is a very timid child. He likes the safety of his own home. I have tried and tried to get him to sign up for an extra curricular activity for a few years now, each time he adamantly refuses. I decided to give him time, let him grow. This year I told him that either he picks an extra curricular activity, or I do, there was no longer any choice. At our school's talent show a bunch of boys had done an amazing dance routine, that had featured lots of back flips. Rowan and Riley were intrigued by this. That was how I got Rowan to agree to taking tumbling classes. Riley, not one to be outdone, signed up for tumbling too. So back we were to driving to Belleville, to the Bay of Quinte Gymnastics Club.
Yesterday was their first class. Riley was really was super excited. She looked forward to getting back into gymnastics, and best yet, learning flips. Rowan looked like he was going to both throw up and cry. He kept saying "I'm only doing this because you're making me." I had to push him through the doors when it was time for class to start. He kept glancing back at me, like he wanted me to step forward and save him.
An hour and a half later, two red faced, sweaty kids came walking out of the gym with great big smiling faces. Rowan announced "I LOVE tumbling!" I at that point exhaled the great breath that I was holding in. Riley was asking if I had seen her doing flips. The two of them were excitedly talking over top of each other. They had been split up into boys and girls, and had loved it. I drove home with this stupid grin on my face. There is something almost magical to me about happy children, and knowing that I had a hand in their happiness.