The kids go to gymnastics once a week.
Once a week I tuck their heads as they tumble through somersaults, lift their reaching hands to the bar or steady their wobbly figures as they navigate the beam. I love my job as gymnasts’ assistant, but every once in a while I glance out at that parent waiting room, see the moms casually chatting and sipping their cappuchinos as they sit still, one eye on a book or a friend, the other on the gymnastics floor, and can’t help but be a bit envious.
The kids decided that they did not need my assistance this week. I could hang out with their little brother, wait within the fish bowl of parents and watch expectantly for each tumble and reach and wobble.
It was strange to see them from afar. To watch their three feet of perfectness manage the world for a few minutes without me. To see how they interact when our distance spanned more than their toes tripping over mine.
I was proud of them and their bouncing little selves and cherished the short time I had to spend with their brother, keeping him occupied at the window by finding Mommy’s eyes and nose and mouth, Mommy’s eyes and nose and mouth, until I’m sure all of the onlookers just wanted to point to my features for him, putting an end to my cheesy face song.
With one chubby finger obstructing my view I looked out at my ever-changing gymnasts and realized they hadn’t looked my way in a while. No one had turned with a Mommy-I-did-it light in their eyes since their first set of tumbles. They had forgotten about me for a few minutes, which is healthy and good and part of growing up, I know it is. But for some reason my eyes started to water a bit.
This distance I was watching them from was going to continue to grow.
I blinked a little bit because I should be happy, I am so close to being that mom sitting still in her seat, clapping proudly even though her gymnasts are too far away to hear, the mom I thought I was anxious to be.
There I was, watching my big kids somersault through a blurry window.
One chubby finger still prodding my eye, a perfect explanation for the tears.
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