Growing up, my parents had a great idea. We are a very active family, and we love sports. But, it can get really expensive when you have 5 kids doing every sport known to mankind. So, my parents decided to put us in a bunch of sports when we were little (and the sports are cheaper) and see which sport we really took to. We had great childhoods full of swimming, baseball, softball, T-Ball, basketball, soccer, football, track, clogging, dance, snow sking, water sking, ect. My parents were very busy.
Then, once we found a sport we loved, they let us follow that one sport as long as we wanted to. Of course, watersking and boating was just considered a necessity and a love we all shared. We never thought of it as a sport, just a really great time! Same went for musical instruments. We all played the piano at some point in our lives. Some of us did it longer than others. We even found, that out of a family of non-singers (even just singing Happy Birthday ended up with roars of laughter of how horrrible we all sounded), we ended up with a brother that had an incredible voice and did great in musicals. Who would've thought!
So, as far as sports went; I really took to gymnastics...my parents discovered this while watching me do cartwheels during a T-Ball game I was in, and watching me pick flowers and do cartwheels when I was supposed to be playing soccer. Therefore, I did gymnastics for the next 8 years. Once I got sick of that, I used my gymnastics ability and put it toward cheerleading. We were a competitive squad, so it was a ton of fun and it was a great way to stay active and involved in Jr. High and High School. I was also lucky enough to do some intramural stuff with gymnastics in College as well. My passion for running came out during this time as well, and still burns strong inside me.
One of my brothers really took to football and track. The other two really liked soccer. My little sister happens to be great at everything, so she is still doing it all, as the only child left at home.
Ben was very active growing up as well. He did soccer, baseball, biking, pole vaulting and of course, any chance he got, he was in the mountains on his skiis, tearing up the powder. He also backpacked and and hiked a lot. There was even a small chunk of time there where he played the trumpet. His passion for skiing, hiking and mountain biking are still going strong.
With our little family, we are doing the same thing as my parents. Ben and I both love to be active, so why not pass it on to the kids. Therefore, Mary's summer has been full of gymnastics, swimming and T-Ball. As soon as I am up to it, hiking will be in the schedule as well. Her winters are full of snow sking with Ben and gymnastics. We are waiting to do soccer until next year. So far, gymnastics seems to be where her natural ability and true love has come to play. But, she has had fun learning new things as well, and we will continue letting her try new things.
Swimming started out rough. She has been terrified of water ever since our little "incident" at the pool a year ago. So naturally, her first day of swimming lessons was spent with her sobbing on my lap. The second day, she would walk out to her class, stand there, and then walk back to me. Crying the whole time. I would have said "forget it," but water is such a big part of our lives, and our kids need to learn how to swim. I also knew it would be good for Mary to stretch herself a little and face a fear.
By the third day, she was in the water and smiling! Hooray! Mary did great and overcame a big fear of hers. I am really proud of her. The kids in her class were really really nice and became great friends to her. We are now trying to squeeze her into the next session so we can keep up the pace she has started.
T-Ball was also something totally new to her. She was one of two girls on the team. Nothing new to Mary, she is surrounded by boys here. They had a great time! Mary learned all sorts of new things about running bases, catching, team work, and hitting the ball. Her favorite part however, was the end of the games, where the parents made a tunnel and the kids ran through it. T-Ball was a lot of fun and we plan on doing it again next year. Her first few games had me laughing so hard I thought I would choke. I was stuck on the couch and couldn't go to her first few games, but I watched them on video, and they had me cracking up. It was adorable watching these little kids run all over the place and tackle eachother for the ball. By the end of the season, they had leaned how to stay put, but it was still great.
So far, we are having a blast watching Mary do all of these fun sports and watching her make new friends and try new things. It has been nice to have a game here, a gymnastics class there and some swimming to go along with it. It has given us some reasons to keep smiling and to keep going through some rough times this summer. It has also provided Mary with some fun ways to get her energy out and to make new friends.
I really can't wait for next year when Sam can do a few things too. He has been a great kid and has put up with a lot of "watching Mary." Good thing he likes to snuggle and he likes to watch Mary. It will be so much fun when he can be involved too!
I have always looked forward to the day when I could watch my kids do sports and participate in the things they love. It has begun for our family, and so far, it has been a blast.