My daughter was practically born in a gymnastic’s gym. When she was two, she started official gymnastics classes. She was amazing, and way beyond the others in her group. She would flip off of everything, she was brave and coordinated. It was obvious to her coaches, gym owners, and me that she had acquired my gymnastics’ genes.
Cameron was a natural born gymnast. She loved bouncing, flying, and going to practice. Her talent and gene pool had everyone speculating about her possible potential. The running joke amongst the coaches and parents were that she was going to compete in the Olympics. Everyone did the math and figured out that she would be too young for the 2012 Olympics, but she would be in her prime for the 2016.
One of my friends made her a leotard with the words “USA 2016.” I remember when she put on the leotard and thinking about where she would be in the year 2016. What would she look like? What career would she choose? Who would be her friends? Where would she go to college? Who would she love?
Cameron didn’t want to be in the Olympics and her gymnastics career was very short lived. After being asked to climb the rope, condition, run laps, and stretch her splits until her body hurt, she decided gymnastics wasn’t for her.
Everyone in the gym was shocked, her coached begged, “But she is so good, don’t let her quit.” The gym manager pleaded, “We can move her back to a recreational class, please don’t let her leave.” The parents strongly warned, “You can’t let a child make this decision for the rest of her life, you will regret this.”
To this day, we have never regretted it.
Now that we are entering into 2016, I look at her picture and realize that life can’t be planned out and that is what makes it amazing. Sometimes our children’s hopes and dreams are better than any plan we can put in place. It is exhilarating and extremely fulfilling to see our children grow up to be more than anything we could have every imagined.
Cameron found her own way through life. She fell in love with her own sport of cheerleading, where she excelled. She learned how to work with others, overcome challenges, and trust in her coaches. And through that she helped her her team win third at Worlds. She made amazing friends with great morals and values. Friends who have been with her through all the ups and downs and friends who will be there for her in the future. She excelled in school and is graduating at the top of her class. She is going to college and hopes to get her degree in Psychology.
She is smart and nice, respectful and kind. She is outgoing and fun, honest and open. She and I have a wonderful relationship. We are close and we talk about important life issues. We discuss the economy, race, social issues, and religion. She is my favorite workout partner and she challenges me to run fast and push hard. I am proud of her spunk, her mind, her heart, and her grit. She is someone I love and enjoy to be around.
As we go into 2016 it is nice to finally know that my little girl grew up to be a women who I love, am proud of, admire, and I am honored to know. I look back at the picture when she was a young girl and I am in awe to know that she turned out better than I could have planned. She has become more than I am. Sometimes I have to take a step back and ask myself what did I do to have such a wonderful daughter.
Now I turn my thoughts into her future and wonder what man she will marry, what her children will look like, and what hopes she will have for her children. I can only pray that life blesses her a child that brings her all the love and joy that she has brought me. I pray that one day she will sit back and smile and know that there is not one thing she would change about her child, just as I sit back and smile at her today.
Wendy Bruce Martin was a member of the 1992 Olympic team and 5x national team member. She has been involved in gymnastics for 36 years and coaching for 22. She received a degree in psychology and is a certified mental toughness coach. Wendy owns the Mental Toughness Company, GET PSYCHED! and is co-owner of Gold Medal Moms. You can visit Wendy at www.Psyched4sports.com or www.GoldMedalMoms.com email at firstname.lastname@example.org.