The day of the gymnastics competition had finally arrived. Daughter number two is due to perform her routine today, in front of real judges. She is doing gymnastics for three years and for what I could observe learned nothing substantial, but she likes it. She never wants to skip a class. She goes in happy and comes out even happier so, “what the hell why not keep her in”,mainly considering her not existant inclination to the sport. In her defence, sure it didn’t help that she was born with her right foot slightly turned inside. The foot straightened nearly wholly thanks to physio,but continued to get in the way of the left one for a long time while running.
Being on a Saturday, the whole family had the privilege to go and watch. The traveling husband and daughter number one are not really impatient to attend but when I explained to them that this is the first year that they are splitting the club and so the show its only about her level and will last only one hour, while the previous years the competition was always held during the week and lasted between four and six hours (as all the levels were performing at the same time),they suddenly felt blessed to be there today.
If you are thinking how good of a mother I am to have gone through that the previous years, well..don’t! This is the first gymnastics competition I ever attended too because I have never been able to make myself sniff kids smelly sweaty feet for all those hours.
CG is secretively practising her routine for two weeks, since she received the note with the date and the exercises. She never knew to have nearly risked not to enter the competition because I missed the deadline and it took me half morning on the phone begging to have her enrolled unofficially.
Here we are all four in the car heading to the gym. Just after we have parked, I have been assaulted by one of those existential doubt that just popped into your mind like that, out of the blue. I looked at the travelling husband and said,”now I have the doubt it was tomorrow and not today. I haven’t double checked the note with the date”.He looked at me with a patronising expression that didn’t require any further comment or replay.
We approach the registration table, and while I am silently praying it is the right day, with an incredibly fake self-confident tone I say my child’s name. The girl behind the desk checked the list, three pages, she cant find her. I repeated CG name and surname, in case she got it wrong. She scrolls her list again. I can fell the travelling husband looking at me and thinking,”I knew it”.I avoid looking back at him or smarty pants daughter number one whose mood had already saw an improvement in the chance to go and skip all this. Trying to stay cool I explained that maybe she was not on the list because she was not enrolled online but added later by phone. At those words it was daughter number two set of eyes that I felt on me, her messy mother, but because she is a survivor and a “lulu pants”(as we call her in the house) she pulls my arm and says:”It is ok, I can do it another time”.My heart melted and all my hidden maternal and protective instinct raises:”oh no, don’t worry. I got this.”.There was no way she was not entering that bloody competition today! Whoever fault it was.
If this was not stressing enough, I also had to face the travelling husband who was still standing there beside me conflicted between to be annoyed or amused.
“I am sure it was today, what must have happened is that that list was printed from the online file and that is why she is not in there”, I say to him, and I nearly believed it myself too.
A queue had formed behind us, that it was a good thing because it attracted the attention of the organiser in charge who came to see what was the problem and with evident annoyance she brusquely told the poor desk girl to add CG name by pen at the bottom of the list where,I could see, there were other few names. With my extreme relief that the world is full of other parents messing with their kids’ gymnastics, I proudly escorted my family inside to take seats.
CG is one of the few in t-shirt and shorts because I always refused to buy her the club leotard that inevitably makes my mind go to “little miss sunshine”,as much as I loved Olive and her grandpa.Here she is ,with her long stick legs ,called out to perform her routine. She is focused, she goes by the book, and she is quick and precise like surgeons with their scalpel. Myself, the father and the sister look at each other in extreme disbelief at what we had just seen. The routine was not complicated but very well executed indeed.
Fifteen minutes earlier than scheduled, the competition is over, and it is time to give out the medal and call for the winners.CG arrives second in her level. For the first time in her whole nine years of life she is on a podium.The shock and the joy for the unexpected victory is overwhelming among her family s members.We are all incredulous but profoundly proud and so we also allowed ourselves a loud embarrassing cheer but, “hey”, this is not an everyday achievement for someone who just learned recently not to trip on herself.