It was take your " feral mother to work" this week

"a repetitive exercise or drill that simulates the feel of a gymnastic skill, or the set of the skill, 
without the risk or danger of completing the gymnastic skill"

I open the door, and am immediately swept
back a decade
the little leotards dancing circles around their parents
asking, tugging, pointing
"when can i go in?"
a magical gymnastics world existing beyond the white door
while we, the grownups must watch through the observing window glass
as if we were all part of the gymnastic skill training that goes on

we did this for years.

now my daughter stands in front of these young gymnasts

she energetically raises her arms above her head
saluting unknown ghost judges to show them respect
while little girls watch to learn how, eyes on her 
wondering if they too could salute
and do skills they imagine in their daytime dreams 
just like her.

my fingers touch the cold glass, and I watch like the old days
but my daughter is now a grown woman, and coaching
she folds little bodies
like they were colorful towels
tumbling pass her in an assembly line
challenging this one, cajoling that one
leading by example 
she confidently 
extends her arms behind her and flips,
walking out of a standing backhandspring
like it was the act of breathing
the little gymnasts mouths form "o"s 
and they wonder those dreams again.

The class moves on to the vault run, 
and my daughter-teacher 
sets up a new drill, sets up a new timer
explaining to them as she moves a big blue box-like mat larger then her
repeating words "confidence is key"
telling them to run purposefully
with confidence
confidence is key
I watch as their little bodies go splat on the big blue mat
like little baby birds falling out of a nest
although it will be hard 
but for now, each one does run 
with confidence
the large blue target.
splat. splat. splat.

watching her coach these exercises, these drills,
these timers over and over again
 the repetitiveness is broken
by the voice of a gymnastics mom
she points to the window glass 
that separates us from the magical world
"my daughter is a level 4, learning new skills"
she says to the woman beside her
in my old mothers heart
i hear my voice softly beating in time
"mine is a level 9, a retired college gymnast
a married lady and here we are now"
but i dont speak it out loud
they wont understand
not until many years pass,
these feelings which pound inside
in every young mothers heart.

then time speeds up-class is over;
my daughter-teacher leads past the other classes
an organized elegant strutting little baby bird parade
and opens the magical white door to the outside
where we are
she hands out papers, smiles and grins,
teases and makes promises
and their little outstretched wings raise up
to meet her hand for high fives
i watch from a distance in this observing room,
not wanting to interrupt
theres a timid little baby bird waiting at her side
"is your mom here yet?" my daughter-teacher asks
the lone little bird shakes her head no
but then in a scene all too familiar
to all us old and young working moms
the little birds mother bursts through the hallway,
into the observing room,
breathlessly talking to no one, every one, my daughter-teacher
"so sorry im late!"
my daughter-teacher stops her with words
"she got her round-off backhandspring today,
and she wants to show you!"
they both excitedly exit through the magical white door,
the lone little bird obediently following.

an area is cleared of mats on the spring floor
an older class stops to give them space
"go ahead!" my daughter-teacher cheers on,
stepping back to give the little bird more room
(but close enough to spot her if she falls!)
the little bird's mother gets her camera ready 
(but remember, no flash!)
slowly the little bird raises her arms
my daughter-teacher gives a hearty clap clap clapping, bending forward to encourage her flight
with a startling bolt the little bird begins to run
with new confidence
she puts her palms down side by side on the floor 
arms straight
her petite legs swinging together up,
feet landing solidly on the other side to push off again
into air, flying, 
flying backwards,
wings stretching to touch
the blue 
spring floor
(her little palms touch again!)
to push off 
flying backwards and then

she lands. 

on both feet.

she straightens out tall and gives a shaky salute as the small crowd cheers 
seeking her mom's beaming face 
the once solemn little bird
 gives her a huge smile

so it is to be.

and my daughter, 
hands in the air cheering,
turns to the window glass, seeking also.

our eyes meet

she gives me a huge grin.

and so it is to be.


Thank you Annabel for letting me be your gymnastic mom all those years.

love always and a big grin back,



  1. Oh Darn it you made me cry.This is so beautifully written.
    I could feel what everyone of us Mothers have felt, the joy of watching our children succeed and the path that we have traveled with them every baby step one after one. We watched them fall watched them pick themselves up and the steps getting longer year after year. We watched them turn into remarkable strong woman or men but I only have daughters but it is the same for women with sons I am sure.
    My chest is hurting as my heart swells and old memories emerge and linger.
    Darn it you made me cry.
    Anabel you and your Mom are awesome. Hugs B

    Darn it you made me cry I hope it stops soon.

  2. Oh I had to come back and read this one more time it is a beautifully written piece and I just had to relive your day.
    I am still crying darn you but honestly it is a good cry. HUGS HUGS B

  3. Cries here too . . . beautifully written and filled me with mother daughter memories . . . loved this . . .

  4. Brought tears to my eyes too! You tell us in your wonderful way what it's like to be a Mom watching their little bird (in whatever they are doing)and the emotions they feel. Wonderful!

  5. Little birds. So well written I could see it. You must be very proud of your daughter.

    Love the header shot.

  6. Darn you, teary-eyed here too! What a lovely post!! :)

  7. Dang, I didn't want to cry this morning. Good thing I don't have mascara on - one advantage of retirement!! How sweet. It speaks to all of us moms. It speaks of raising our little birds, and pushing them out of the nest... watching their attempts at flying, on their own. My son graduates in two weeks. I am holding my breath as I push....

  8. so sweet. the baby birds. splat. lovely!

  9. This is so well written...I can just feel the emotion you and those other moms are/were feeling, watching their little birds learning to fly!

  10. "...she folded little bodies like they were colorful towels..."

    love that image so much.

    My daughter's name is Annabelle, you made my heart ache.

  11. Simply....beautiful. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift.

  12. It's as though the most beautiful words came out of your heart, to be strung together by love, and to then be shared with all of us. I have missed some of your posts because I've been ill, but how glad I am that this is the one I got to read.

    I've always liked the way you write, but this is so special, it touches my heart, my heart that didn't raise a child, my heart that did so poorly in gymnastics, why ~ because the words came from your heart to show your love for your daughter. And because you are blessed with a great skill as a wordcrafter and poet.

  13. So beautiful.... it makes my heart ache for my daughter....

  14. The sweet rewards of children who fly from your nest and land with confidence. Yes. Loved this one especially.

  15. Tears here also. You are an impressive writer, and an amazing person!

  16. Sweet. How proud you are to watch the fruits of all the labors.... both yours and your daughters. All the years of driving to and from the gym....I imagine it was thus because I was a skating mother and I recall all the early hours and long days. It's nice to remember.
    Love and peace,

  17. You convey the scene so beautifully with your eloquent writing. Lovely.

  18. I dont comment very often... but this is so beautiful. I recognise it all.....our little gymnast is 32 now, a mother of 2, and she still talks of those days so fondly. A lovely piece of writing, and I too, have tears in my eyes. J.

  19. What a wonderful experience and your words define your feelings so well.

    I am in awe of these girls that can challenge their bodies to do such amazing things.


  20. Well this made me cry! It was beautiful...and so genuine :)


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