My toddler daughter isn’t a child anymore. She closes her bedroom door in the evenings to do her homework and doesn’t ask for help. She listens to music she downloads herself. She gathers her own food from the kitchen like a savvy woodchuck, wants me to buy almond milk and even pokes fun at things I say that weren’t meant to be jokes.
That’s fine. All of that is fine. I’m okay with it.
Tonight marked Day Two of a three-day cheerleading clinic at a local middle school. I’m trying to contain my excitement because outward excitement always seems to backfire, but she’s talking about sticking with the activity.
(Big development here – I’ve tried and failed on multiple occasions over the years to find an activity that will actually stick.)
Activities my daughter’s started and stopped:
- She started this at the age of 4. I forced it for several years before letting it go as her interest faded.
- No biggie to me. She spent one season avoiding the ball, picking flowers and drinking post-game Capri Suns. I don’t enjoy soccer anyway.
- Just not her thing. I knew that going into the ordeal. She sometimes tips over while tying her shoes.
- Her first play showed no signs of theater being her calling, but she was too young and inexperienced to follow the director’s instructions. She earned a leading role her second go-around because she paid attention, but her third and fourth productions didn’t yield the same success and she lost interest.
- I could never make her grasp the concept that practice happened between lessons. She now has a very pretty pink guitar that’s been played 12 times.
None of these include the individual things she’s tried. She seems to like those more – art, daydreaming and things like that. I’m okay with these, but I’m looking for something she can do in a group or as part of a team.
One may wonder how guitar lessons fit into this. That’s simple. I hoped for a garage band. Anything to hone her social skills and possibly spark something competitive inside of her.
That last one – the competitive part – is the missing aspect of her development. Everyone has to have some part of him or herself that wants to be better than others at something, right?
Activities in which I’d like my daughter to engage:
- Yeah, she rides her bike. Every kid does. But she has no problem with going slow. Super slow. Terribly slow.
- Okay, so I’m looking for an excuse to watch more football.
- Kalista says she wants to help at the animal shelter and would probably do what she could at the food bank or hang out with some old people, but I anticipate these activities also ending in failure because she’s get sidetracked in some way.
- Nothing builds character like logging.
Okay, the logging thing is a stretch. I completely made that up to combat the sudden realization I really don’t have any suggestions. Sure, I have ideas, but I’d support cow-tipping if it were a team activity that interested her. I don’t care what she does. I just want her to do something.
SO THAT IS why I’m keeping my fingers crossed with the cheerleading. The clinic, I figured, is a great way to give her a taste of the sport without committing her (and me) to an entire season. She said she wants to pursue it. I’ll do anything to make it happen.
She’s getting older now and it’s beyond time for her to learn what it’s like to struggle, work hard and witness her persistence yield dividends. It’s fine to like flying solo, but knowing how to be successful on a team is an integral part of life. Solitude has its place … but solidarity as a unit is just as important. Perhaps more.