In the Shadow of Greatness
Moira goes to g’nastics (this is how she says it and it’s cute so we don’t correct her) every Thursday for fitness and fun. I have no illusions that, since she started when she was six, almost seven, and because she wants to take acting, and swimming, and used to take dance, that she’s ever going to be Olympic quality. Besides, I don’t have the energy or the right kind of attitude to be a a sports-mom. I’ll never push her that hard, and the minute she breaks something requiring a cast, we’re done.
Still, it was pretty awesome the week before last when Moira was sitting on the floor with her team of beginners and just a few feet away from her was Brandie Jay. They could have reached out and touched each other. Brandie is ten and a half years older than Moira and has a real shot at the Olympics next year. She’s competing tomorrow in the Pan Am all around, only one of two American’s to make the cut. And, there she is every Thursday, flying through the air while we watch Moira tumble and bumble.
Brandie pushes herself and it shows. I suppose if Moira ever really fell in love with something and wanted to push herself that hard, I’d have no choice but to support her because I’m her mom and that’s my job. But I’m not a pusher or a puller or a dragger-out-of-bedder in the earliest hours of the morning. It’s not the kind of mom I am. But I have to believe that kids like Brandie have a spark that drives them out of bed and to the podium, and parents who probably just drive them to practice and are along for the ride. I don’t know her parents, but I’m guessing Brandie would be amazing whether they wanted her to do gymnastics or not. Besides, who could tolerate the pain and sacrifice if the fire wasn’t from within?
I wish Brandie a medal tomorrow. I wish her the rewards she deserves for all her hard work. I just wish for Moira to be happy with whatever she does in life, and an infinite amount of fun in the next decade of her childhood. I wish her just enough drive to get where she wants to be and find her happy place. I can’t ask for anything more than that.