My daughter is 13. She is disciplined, programmed, organized, motivated, and bent that she will be in the Olympics someday. She plays on two national sports teams, takes an advanced series curriculum in school (because "high schools here can't give sports scholarships and colleges want the whole package"), and trains everyday-at practice or at home or both. Sometimes I fear she will burnout or pass out, but there is a different mind in her head than that of my other children. It is scary but also really cool to see her innate hunger.
We spend a huge chunk of our income on her, from travel, to tuition and fees, to training, to uniforms, etc. I get up crazy early on weekends to take her hours away to tournaments just to take her to a second tournament more hours away for the other sport the same day. Sometimes it takes multiple people to get her from one place to another while orchestrating the other children to their things which don't even dent in comparison financially or for time.
We as a family have sacrificed a ton for her and this pursuit of a dream. I went back to work in multiple jobs, in order to make enough money to pay these costs. My husband and I can go many days not seeing one another, but to sleep. Kids get shuffled about. Many times only one parent can attend anything.
There are benefits too. Because of her and this we are forced to eat healthy and make healthy food choices at home or on the road. We are forced to make time to take family vacations, not put them off until it is convenient or what have you. And our kids have seen many national attractions, museums, and some really cool landmarks and things, that they would not have otherwise seen.
With all of this said, it begs the questions: Are we crazy? Why her and not the other kids? Is it my dream or hers?
I have a few thank you's at this point for keeping this dream alive:
Thank You! P&G. Prior and during the Olympics, both summer and winter they have had international interviews with Olympians and their parents. They are in other languages and English and the interview typically are the mother and the child. My daughter and I watch them all together and I cry or tear up many times, because really the sacrifices are so great for each family-regardless of the nation. And time marches on, children grow so fast, and the sacrifice is only temporary. I realize that this is both of our dreams, hers and mine, and that is ok. Our dreams are different and take on different stressors and fears and happiness, all for the highest form of success for an instant of her life. She and I and her family will sacrifice and work for her entire life up to that point for only a minute percentage of her life. A minute percentage worth one million dreams, those lost and those still yet to be dreamed. Her constant hunger for this dream drives all of us to be better, to be more healthy, to be a team player, to push others to succeed as this dream cannot be won on her own. These are two team sports. She needs her team. They need her. We parents need each other. And God has blessed us all with the strength to continue day in and day out, through frustration, anger, sleep deprivation, injury, financial issues; in good times and in bad.
Thank you also to US Women's Volleyball National Team player : Jordan Larson. Your picture is up all over every place my child looks. Seeing "J. Larson" (also her first initial and last name) on the back of warm ups and jerseys has made this dream so visually real for my child that in her days of weakness you alone keep her head on the track. You worked so hard to get where you are and there are I am sure more than just my daughter that look up to you. Thank you, to you and your family, who at one point sat where we are now, in their hands, a series of dreams and what if's.
So I guess if for nothing else, her dream is worth the sacrifice. We are blessed in so many ways. And for that I have many thanks. We can do it, you can do it. And parents, our kids are worth it. Be there when they win, encourage them when they falter, and standby their side forever and always. They may change teams, outgrow the t-shirts or jerseys, but the memories gained on the path of life are always worth it.
Until next time,
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