Saturday, January 21, 2012

Impressive Dedication

The other day I was at the rec center waiting for a spin class to start. I have to get there about 15 minutes early sometimes to make sure I get a bike and this day the previous class wasn't out yet so I sat outside the room waiting.  In the area where I was sitting is also the prep area for the skating rink.  It was 5:45 AM and it was dark outside, the rec center was practically deserted.

After a few minutes, in comes this girl about 14 years old. She trudged slowly in carrying a huge and obviously heavy duffel bag slung over her sagging shoulder. She had bed hair and her eyes never left the floor. She was obviously wishing she was still in bed.  But she sat down, pulled off her big cozy boots and proceeded to dig into the depths of the duffel bag to pull out her ice skates.

When the girl had gotten one of skates on, I noticed someone else coming into the area. This was a tall, thin woman wearing sweats and a huge down coat that looked like she had dragged her comforter off her bed and into the car with her.  A hat covered her bedhead and she carried a large soda and a chocolate covered doughnut wrapped in a greasy napkin. She set these down on the table next to me and sat on the bench across from the girl to help her put on her other skate. They talked softly as they worked together to get the girl ready to go out on the ice.

I had nothing else pressing going on so I watched what was obviously a frequent occurrence in these two peoples' lives.  They had the drill down all the way to the greasy doughnut.  I was impressed with the young girl because at that age, to have found something she was willing to sacrifice sleep for is paramount to establishing necessary self-discipline and confidence (both of which are not necessarily high on the priority list of a typical 14 year old).  I was struck by the fact that although she probably wanted to keep sleeping that morning, she still found the inner strength to show up. To Be There. To Just Do It.  I started feeling a little less sorry for myself for sitting there at 5:45 to ride a bike - a recreational task that likely won't do much for me other than make me breathe really hard and make me sore tomorrow.

What's more, I was equally as impressed with the girl's mother who I ended up talking to more later on when her daughter went out onto the ice.  This mother could have easily made the decision early on that before-dawn lessons were too much to ask. That it just went above and beyond what she should have to do to be a good mom.  But there she was. She Was There. Doughnut in hand. She was Doing It.  Putting herself out there - making herself uncomfortable for a totally unselfish reason.  Being there for her daughter.  It almost made me cry I was so proud of her. But also I had to consider my role as a mother. Would I easily make that decision? Would I be that doughnut-toting, 5:45 AM, help-my-daughter-with-her-skates, give-up-my-own-sleep mom?  Would I? Or would I say, can't we take a lesson at another time?

Turns out this girl has lessons 7 days a week. 3x a week they are early in the morning. It was almost an every-day occurrence.  She said they weren't necessarily on the "fast-track" to competition anymore due to an injury but that they were still serious.  Even more applause.  I just don't think I could do it.  I could be selling myself short, who knows. We all do "what we have to do", right? Given a similar situation and it's what my daughter really wanted, perhaps I'd Be There too.  But right now, an 8:00 piano lessons once a week sometimes feels over the top.  I've got room to grow.

Way To Go Doughnut-Mom!

4 backward glances:

Rachel said...

YOU are that person! You met me on the corner at O'dark hundred to run and listen and counsel me on life. Someday your daughters will ask and you will be there to support. I know it. I think it's called unconditional love. I've missed your musings on life. Keep posting :)

Amy said...

thanks Rach. I miss u too! I was so excited by the prospect of you moving back so we could "meet in the dark" again. So sad it didn't come to fruition. Those are special times to me.

Aislinn said...

OH Amy, I think that you're that mom now and as your daughters' needs and desires change, the involvement that you will have will wax and wane too. I see you as a very involved parent... one who cheers your girls on when they need you most and cries with them when they need that too! You are doing great and you'll continue to do so because you are simply AWESOME!

Lesley said...

Hey! It's been a while! I'm trying to get back into blogging-it's been a long time!

I know what you mean-I already do tons of running between my three kids and my job but it always seems like I notice someone doing more than I can imagine being able to do for my kids. I tell my older ones that I would be able to be at everything if they were only children but look at all the fun they would be missing out on with their siblings! Ha!