Friday, August 3, 2012

The Olympic Mom in All of Us

What is it, like a bazillion people who are watching the Olympics?  It’s so exciting, how can you not?  I mean, who wasn’t watching Gymnastics to follow Gabrielle Douglas to GOLD! And splashing along with Michael Phelps to his amazing medal record – what is it, 19, 20 now? 

Is it corny to say that I like the Olympics because it feels unifying and hopeful that all the people around the world are watching and enjoying the same thing.  And I love that it does the same thing in our household.

Every night, for the past week, we’ve been settling in the living room, cuddled on the couch or sprawled across the floor, watching whatever competition is on, all the sudden experts.  Jay has become the toughest judge ever, “she over-rotated”, “his feet weren’t lined up”, “they’re finger tips didn’t line up exactly – that’s not synchronized.”  This from a kid who falls and/or spills something everyday, usually both at the same time.  Of course, after spending hours at the pool, twice weekly in the fall, winter, and spring, and daily all summer – we’ve been sitting on edge for the battle in the water between Lochte and Philips.  We even had our own little warm-ups that we did before Gabby or Michael started their events.  I’m not saying that helped with their Olympic records, but we did notice that some of our other hope-fors didn’t get a medal when we didn’t do a warm-up for them (sorry guys).  We’ll have to work on something new for the track & field folks.

And as a mom, I have to say, I LOVE the “Thank you, Mom” commercials.  The little kid diving into the pool, he makes me laugh every time.  Moms rushing kids to practice, I feel less crazy, if just a little bit, that I’m not the only one.  The athletes with their moms, saying “thanks”, heart-warming.  And then the real-life Gabby’s mom crying in the stands.  Yeah, I cried, too.  I haven't read about their personal story, but I don't need to in order to begin to imagine the work that she's put in to get her daughter not only to the Olympics, not only to win two Gold medals in gymnastics, but also to be the first African-American woman to win Gold in the All-Around?  (On an aside, I'm always surprised when someone becomes the "first" anything - you would think all those spots would be taken by now.)

Of course these commercials are emotional tear-jerkers, and sponsored by P&G, they know their target audience, I get that.  But I love the recognition, even if by association, of all the sacrifice and time and “hurry up! Get your stuff and let’s go!” and the miles and money that moms put into their kids to be successful.  Not only in sports, of course, but everything.  Its just a reminder that even to get our kids out of elementary school, they’ve got to put in the work, but moms, we’ve got to give them the push.  And it’s a subtle hint to our kids, too, that we do it all for them.  Doesn’t it make it worth it when they come off the sidelines or show off their report card and say “Thanks, Mom”?  It’s the best.

So to Gabby’s mom, to Michael’s mom, and all the other moms driving, pushing, cheering, paying, not sleeping, correcting, and encouraging your kids to their own "gold" – Thanks.  Keep up the good work.

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