Everything Happens for a Reason

One dark evening, last March families filed into a lounge at the gym where we were members. Though it was freezing outside, families gathered with excitement and anticipation as the director of the dance and gymnastics program was going to share what we would soon see as opportunity to advance and grow the USAG program at HealthQuest. As we listened intently I became more excited about the opportunity for Cecily and her teammates and envisioned this amazing journey that she and her teammates would share moving forward through the USAG Program here in New Jersey. I couldn't believe what I was hearing and what the gym could bring her. A year prior we had joined HealthQuest as it was the only option to bring our family health and wellness and give each of our children the opportunity to experience all the sports that they dreamed for years but those we couldn't seem to manage. With a larger family there was a delicate balance between dance, gymnastics, martial arts, swimming, and other sports. Navigating the cost and the travel was too overwhelming for one set of parents to undertake.

As the General Manager spoke I could hear the words he said but the dollar signs swirled in my head and the warmth of tears began to well within my eyes. Cecily had wanted to be a gymnast for as long as I could remember and with a few months at different gyms in our area, HealthQuest was her first and only opportunity to actually grow and compete as a gymnast.

Weekly, Cecily worked and grew her talent in the gym and with that physical growth and her development as an athlete, friendships developed as well. The children were in the gym for hours a week and though they still had friends outside the gym, these Amazing Eight bonded like no other children I have ever seen. These friendships grew fast and furious and as the meeting went on I mourned the friendships that Cecily would lose as I knew that Cecily could not continue. I wondered how I would break the bonds that she had created and what I would say when I let her know that we could not continue. Days followed where I sobbed and felt an overwhelming sadness that I couldn't put into words.

After many discussions, the moment came when I knew we would have to tell Cecily that we were going to have to leave the gym. I watched as her eyes filled with tears as mine had in the weeks prior and I wondered how I would ever look Cecily in the eye again after withdrawing her from gymnastics? I wanted to make it work but the number of hours that the team required paired with the financial burden made me understand that our season in the gym was drawing to a close. The hours and money had grown to be a burden and I had also just begun realizing that there was something just not right with our youngest child. I grew worried that the hours we spent in the gym were affecting her development and I was pretty certain that was the only reason why she had no words and why she didn't know her name. Penning the final sentences of this chapter wasn't something I did lightly. I was broken. Perhaps more than she was herself.

As a child I dabbled in gymnastics, but honestly I was not quite built for the gym. I was a bit soft and round. I never had the drive and determination that Cecily did and truly couldn't even begin to fathom what she chose to give up for her sport when I was her age. Her dedication and positive attitude towards her practice and her team were exemplary and taught me more about her as a person that she could ever teach me with the words she shared.

After States, Cecily gave up her favorite sport to support the family and understand that we as a family had to go another direction. In part, due to Cecily choosing to give up what she loved, we were able to receive. Shortly after her run in gymnastics came to a close, Seraphina still wasn't responding. With intense work at home, I still could not manage to get her to respond as a child her age should and within a couple months, Seraphina had her diagnosis. She wasn't just number five or lazy, she was autistic.

In the months that followed Cecily was scared to see her friends. She feared there would no longer be the connection and I wondered as well. I wondered if she would still want to be in the gym and if the moments spent with friends would be too painful. Today I got my answer and tonight as we headed out and met with her teammates, I realized what a gift that gym was in choosing to increase costs. I watched as the girls embraced as if they had never been apart. Those bonds that I worried I severed in my need to remove her from the team are still there. They are just as strong as they were months ago when she left her last practice. Tonight, I took in what it means to be a teammate and understood in that moment that without Cecily giving up her sport selflessly we wouldn't be where we are today.  There may be space and time, but that space and time that cannot break true friendship and camaraderie.

Cessy Sue, you are one unique dynamo. You excel in all you attempt and all you achieve. Without your giving up your team, your sister wouldn't be where she is today....so I can say truly that everything happens for a reason. Thank you for being part of the reason we are able to help your sister. I am forever grateful.


Popular posts from this blog

About that Baby

To Be or Not To Be...Politically Correct

Don't Press Send