It’s not free, but it’s priceless

For the first five years of motherhood, I successfully avoided getting sucked into the endless parade of ‘Mommy and Me’ classes, the sports practices (yes, they have those for the preschool set), and enriching events of all kinds.

My motto was, “Free Outdoor Play Rules the Day”.

I refused to step onto the slippery slope of busyness that comes with scheduling all sorts of ‘fun’ and ‘educational’ classes for my little ones, who frankly, find the contents of a kitchen drawer just about as fun as a $300 class session at the YMCA.

I will admit to feeling a small amount of panic that my kids would be ‘left behind’ by other children who had begun their extra-curricular training seemingly in the womb.  (Mark my words – there will come a day when women will be sent home from the hospital with their newborns and a Kumon workbook on basic math skills for infants.)

But I set aside my fears and allowed my rational brain to hold sway.  We were not going down the primrose path of ‘activities’.

I held firm until that fateful day when I thought:

‘Okay, Hailey really does seem to have a propensity to hurl herself around at all angles.  Maybe we could get her some training for that so she can do it with a modicum of safety.  And maybe some gymnastics classes will tire her out.’

I signed her up for one, hour-long class at the YMCA last year.

Fast forward to the present day…

Two days a week, Hailey hustles off the school bus to change clothes, grab a snack and head to the gym.  We’ve switched facilities so she can have access to better equipment and teachers.  We manage to cram in some homework, too, between the hour-and-a-half practice sessions and dinner.

What has happened to the laissez-faire mother I used to be, to the ‘no activities’ warrior who swore she’d never be the mom in the minivan, wearing a groove in the road to the gymnastics center?

I’ll tell you what happened – I saw my daughter develop skills and begin to bloom in her own body.  I’ve watched her concentrate in class and try to do new things with a persistence that I don’t possess.  The whole process is like watching a baby bird learn to fly  – and it is addictive.  I will do just about anything to make these experiences continue for her.

And the fine folks at the Hammond Park Gymnastics Center are more than happy to accept my credit card as payment.

Check out the baby bird in action.

***  Extra note:  See the older, male coach in the video with the red shirt and dark, plaid-ish shorts?  He’s been wearing that SAME OUTFIT every day we’ve seen him at the gym.  It is freaky.**

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