Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trying Their Wings

"Grammy, I'm going to put on a show!" Gabby yelled from the yard. I sat on the swing watching. My granddaughter, age nine, began a cartwheeling across the yard. Her show also consisted of back bends, the splits and various other moves I'd not yet seen in my lifetime. She bounced. She flipped. She twisted in ways that made my bones ache. It was all as natural to her as breathing.

For the last couple of years we have talked about it. Gabby needed to be in gymnastics. This little girl who has so much energy that it oozes out of her. Fearless, graceful, agile and full of life, the mats, the bar, the floor should be hers. So I finally just took up the reins and called Oregon Gymnastics Academy. This is a big step for a family struggling financially, but we know that there is a calling that needs be answered. I made an appointment for skill evaluation.

"I'm nervous, Grammy," she said yesterday. I didn't want to tell her, but I was, too.

"Just pretend that you are performing for me in the front yard," I said. "You will have fun and do just fine."

I watched the little girl that came in the door with me. I knew she would not be the same one when we left. She held her chin high and focused on what the instructor asked of her. She didn't stop and wave at me every time she did something as she would have in the past. Instead she once in awhile looked up at me and smiled. My heart was in my throat. She had aged a few years in just a few moments.

When the evaluation was finished, her instructor informed us that Gabby had natural talent. She was everything that was needed to be a gymnast. She would not go into the beginning classes. Gabby would begin in Intermediate 1 and is expected to move to Intermediate 2 very quickly.

We grandparents, we parents need to look for the signs in our children of the gifts they possess. Perhaps we are financially strapped and cannot give them what they need. Yet, as I am finding, there is help if we look for it. There is a way if we are determined to give them the best. Gabby can potentially continue with gymnastics going on to gain college scholarships. She will gain pride in herself. She will gain confidence. She will take a step away from us into herself.

Her feet left the ground reaching for the sun. She bent over backwards as easily as sitting down. A smile lit her face as she felt her heart soar. An eagle must soar and a fish swim. A singer must sing and a dancer dance. God gave wings. Grandparents and parents can give their children the freedom to try them.

We got back into the car. "I'm very proud of you," I said.

"I know," she answered.

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