Friday, July 13, 2012

In the Gallery

We sat in the gallery watching Gabby do her gymnastics. Her dad, his girlfriend, Sydney and I were a good portion of the few sitting in the seats around us. I didn't pay much attention to the gallery. I was busy spending time with Sydney, while we watched her sister conquer new skills.

This morning my friend said that she thought it was nice that Gabby's dad and girlfriend stayed to watch her classes each week. I asked her why they wouldn't. I always stayed for practices sitting with other parents watching our children work together for a common goal. Baseball, soccer, whatever the task, I was always there. My friend seemed to startle at herself at a sudden awareness that she had never considered staying for practices. "I just dropped them off," she said. I swear I saw a light bulb click on above her head.

There is nothing wrong with dropping off the child. There is nothing wrong with waiting for the child. Perhaps I learned because my parents were never supportive of our activities. They showed up at recitals and concerts, but there was no support for our participation or pride in our accomplishments. Thus, I wasn't going to be that way with my children. I wanted to watch them practice and be there to talk about it afterwards. I never wanted to be the missing parent. I never have regretted that time watching them with pride and delight. I wouldn't have missed a moment of it. I do the same for my granddaughters.

When middle school and high school came along, my days of watching practices were curtailed. So, I got involved with them at school in other ways. We did plays together. When the high school was producing plays, we worked on sets and helped backstage. We supported our friends and family members by attending their functions.

We sat in the stands. "Dad, look. Gabby's up!" Sydney would say. Her sister worked on the balance beam. Pure grace and beauty. Every so often after Gabby did one of her tasks, she would look up at me. She knew I would be watching. She wasn't allowed to wave at us. I mouthed, "I love you." She smiled and threw her head back. I knew the language. "I love you, too."

Sitting in the stands is for the child, but more than anything, it is for the Grammy with a smile on her face. A gandma who wouldn't miss a minute.

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