My daughter decided it was time to leave all-star cheerleading behind, and I wasn’t ready.
For years, all-star cheerleading has been our common ground. When I didn’t understand that she had to cross the road to catch a critter on Pokémon Go, or why one type of notebook was no longer cool, at least I understood cheerleading. I knew which brand of shoe she loved, I knew how to do her hair and makeup flawlessly—even after she was old enough to do it herself. I knew which bows needed to go on her cheer bag for competition luck, and exactly how many pixie-stix her stunt group needed to get them from meet-time to the mat. In a time where everything was pulling my teenage daughter away from me, all-star cheer kept us close.
And now, she’s no longer an all-star cheerleader. Which means I’m no longer an all-star cheer mom. To some, I get this is crazy to feel like I’ve lost something from my daughter making her own decision. I know I’m going to enjoy the extra money the family will have from leaving it all behind, but there will be so much that I miss.
I will miss the drives to and from practice, where she describes memes to me as I drive making sure I get the joke—which I totally miss the point on half the time but I laugh because of her earnestness. I will miss seeing her sweet face light up when she wants to share her day with me, the excitement of hitting new stunts or getting new tumbling skills. The wet shoulder when the tears pile up when she has a bad competition or she’s frustrated and can’t find the words. I will miss getting my 16yr old Dipping Dots when she hits zero, a tradition we’ve had for ten years. I will miss my husband squeezing my hand when they get to pyramid and he’s flipping out. I will miss the weekends in hotel rooms watching movies together and her laughing at the thought I dressed like Sandy from Grease to get her dad’s attention in senior year.
I know we will find new ways to spend time together and bond, but I will miss the little girl in wiglets putting her hand in mine, although I am so proud of the teenager who came to me and told me she was ready to move on from all-star cheerleading.
All-star cheer gave my kid a strong work ethic, the ability to work with others and appreciate a team, and most importantly, a childhood full of happy memories.
She’s ready to move on; I’m finding it a little harder. But next, there will be college tours, senior year, more goodbyes and her moving away to begin her life as an adult. As she grows up, I will always find new and wonderful ways to be proud of my girl. For the time we had together, I will always cherish all-star cheerleading.
*mom wishes to remain anonymous