October 7 | Love
I have become a member of a tribe. A tribe I never knew existed in the sub-culture of motherhood, but now I am a full-blooded, card-carrying member. I am part of The Tribe of Gymnastic Moms.
We meet every week for an hour in a waiting room–folding chairs, wall of cubbies, odor of wet socks and sweaty underwear coating our nostrils in thick shellac–to pay homage at the altar of little bodies performing miracles on mats, bars, and trampolines.
You can recognize this tribe by the detritus of our gymnastics lives: oversized bags, hair that has not been a natural color for decades, sippy cups, snack traps, board books, infant car seat carriers, yoga pants, manicures, pedicures, trendy sneakers, flip-flops, goldfish crackers, applesauce squishers, water bottles, hair ties.
Eavesdrop on conversations and you’ll hear certain key words: “Babysitters” “Homework” “T-Ball/soccer/basketball/cheerleading practice” “Hair extensions” “Vacation” “Mother-in-law” “House cleaner” “School spirit day” “Dinner” “Babysitters” (repeat.)
You will almost certainly find an iPhone (likely with a bedazzled sort of case) attached to the end of one of our arms; Facebook and text messages are urgent companions.
You will almost certainly find a cup of Starbucks coffee attached to the end of our other arm.
In fact, we have probably all queued up our minivans and SUVs neatly in the Starbucks drive thru just prior to class, our weary arm resting on the window ledge as we extend our frequent flyer Starbucks card in exchange for a PSL. In our backseats, at least two car seats create a jagged horizon in each rearview mirror.
We gather weekly, The Tribe of Gymnastics Moms. We do not love the smell. We do not love the reminder that our bodies no longer contort in pretzel shapes on command. We do not even love each other’s company or each other’s sniffly babies or each other’s toddlers who grip indiscriminate knees in desperate dashes toward the goldfish cracker stash. We sit here in weary resignation week after week out of love for the seed that’s blooming out on that gymnastics mat.
We all come alive with smiles and coos and energy when that door opens and leotarded bodies spring outward, waving stamps on hands and attacking shoe cubbies with a vengeance.
The Tribe of Gymnastics Moms is perhaps united after all by the strongest thing of all: Love.
I’m still working out whether that’s primarily Love for little gymnasts or that Starbucks Coffee. Either way, we return week after week for more.
Day 7 of 31 days. For the month of October, I’m joining in on 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes. Following the rules to write an unedited response to a prompt in 5 minutes, the insights and gratitude I gain in that short time will lift my soul skyward for the day. Join me in reading! Grateful for the challenge of Write 31 Days.