All Parents Matter

We have this new little gymnast in the family!  Cub 4 started flipping and tumbling a few years ago at MyGym as just something to keep her busy while her cub siblings were in school during the day.  

Once she started school, we stopped the weekly visits to MyGym and focused on dance instead.  About nine months ago, Cubs 3 and 4 started taking a gymnastics class together and they both liked it, however Cub 3 likes basketball much more than gymnastics and she stopped in order to play in the Upward league.  

Cub 4 continued with gymnastics and was eventually asked to join a pre-team.  This was a group of girls who had potential to compete, but would spend a year learning the basic skills to get ready for it.  We had to make a one year commitment to this program.  After only three practices with the pre-team, the coaches decided to move her up another level!  Still another year-long commitment which includes 8 hours of practice per week, competing against other Level 2 teams around the state, and more dollars flying out of our bank account. SN: Don’t ignore my pleas for your help when we start fundraising soon!   

Anyway, I’ve spent many hours at the gym watching girls and boys at all different levels practicing and training for competition season which will begin in November.  As you can imagine, there are all types of skill levels jumping, flipping, tumbling, and spinning all over the place!  One particular exercise that is closest to the parent observation area is rope climbing.  It’s just like the rope you’d find in most gymnasiums that we all had to attempt to climb during fitness tests in PE.  The gymnast do it because it’s a great way to build their upper body strength and core.  Some of the girls can go up and down the rope multiple times like it’s nothing!  Others struggle to get a few inches off of the ground.  That’s probably where I would be!  Cub 4 used to get about half way up before slowly sliding back down.  She was partly afraid of heights and partly a little too weak in the arms to make it to the top.  She’d get to her highest point and look through the window at me and that’s when I would give her a thumbs up, a smile, and a silent clap and she was content.  Each week she moved a little bit higher than the week before.  Then just this week, she made it all the way to the top…TWICE!! 

Like with any sport or other activity that involves a performance, there are some hard-core, making-their-kids-cry type of parents in the observation room with me.  They tap on the window at their kid.  They go into the gym (where parents aren’t allowed) to yell at their kid for not getting to the top, or to confront the coach because they feel the coach is being too hard on their kid.  I just cringe at the embarrassment that their kid must feel as their eyes meet the disappointed eyes of the parent behind the glass.  

I can’t be totally judgmental of these intense parents as if I always get it right.  I’ve made the same faces and have had the same tone when it comes to my cubs’ academic journeys.  Cub 1 caught it/catches it the most (one of the negatives of being the first born) and through parenting him, I’ve learned to chill a lot more with stressing over their academic performances.  He started hating school and I’m sure I had a lot to do with that.  Sometimes, we want our kids to be successful so that WE look good.  It’s how we validate our style of parenting.  When they are successful, then we feel successful because of their accomplishments.  Regardless of our parenting styles, our children will grow up and take whatever they’ve chosen to listen to and head out into the great big world.  Cub 1 is SO close to that reality!  Just in this past week, he’s taken his senior pictures and we’ve taken two college tours!  Time. Slow. Down. Please. 

What I’ve discovered is that while I want my cubs to do well in all that they tackle, they are going to fail at some stuff…and it’s okay…and it’s good for them…and I can’t do everything for them…and I can’t want it (whatever it is) more than they do…and parenting is so much more easier these days with my discovery.  At least in the academic area.  Now, figuring out how to get them to turn off lights, keep their rooms clean, and hang up wet towels will make me even happier! 

Mama Bear

We’re Growing!

It’s been a struggle waking up at a decent hour in the mornings!  I’ve spent all week trying to get to exercise classes at the gym (most start at 9:30), but I’ve been enjoying not having an alarm clock and I keep waking up WAY later than I should and I keep missing class.  I’ve been going to the gym, still, but it’s been closer to lunch time.

This morning when I returned from the gym, I found Poppa Bear (PB) standing outside talking to some people in a car that was blocking me from pulling into the driveway.  The car belonged to the parents of one of Cub 2’s friends who were just looking for our house apparently (?).  Cub 2’s friend was one of the students who went on a week long service project trip to the Dominican Republic with Cub 2 a couple of weeks ago.  Cub 2, the mama’s boy cub, took his first airplane ride, first trip out of the country, first time ever being away from family for eight days, and grew more independent just like that!  Since returning from the trip, his little cohort of friends have been meeting up at different places to hang out.  Today’s hangout was at the mall.  They were meeting there to catch a movie and eat.  The girl cubs and I headed out to the beach for the afternoon, and PB agreed to drop Cub 2 off at the mall.

Cub 2 and Friends

Cubs 3 and 4 Playing on the Bay

Did you catch that?  Cub 2 was dropped off at the mall to hang out with friends without us.  Me – the worrier – didn’t flip out over Cub 2 being dropped off at the mall to hangout with friends.  Anyone who knows me knows that this was a big deal, but I didn’t even realize that it was a big deal until later this evening.  Listen, I cannot ignore the fact that we are raising two African-American male cubs.  They have labels placed on them without even opening their mouths.  They get judged just by walking in a room.  They could meet up with the wrong police officer one day and not have the chance to pull out their identification.  So, I do not apologize for the worry.  However, what I’ve learned to do is trust God more than worry.

After surviving Cub 2’s eight-day journey to another country by himself, letting him spend a few hours at the mall with his friends is now a piece of cake.  That’s because I spent time growing up, too.  I spent time growing my trust in God.  I started every single morning in the month of June by writing down scripture passages that dealt with worry and fear.  When a worry or fear would creep in, I was equipped for battle.  #BOOM

My Cubs Are Growing Up!

What. A. Great. Feeling.

What is your thorn or sin that’s keeping you from growing up?  Perhaps it’s time to dig a little deeper and arm yourself with God’s word so that you can battle that thing.  God always wins!

The other cubs have had some growth, too, but we’ll save that for another day.  I’m determined to get up on time to catch a class at the gym.

Who am I kidding?  Tomorrow is Saturday.

Mama Bear


Happy Birthday, Cub 4!!

This was the plan:  four children, four years apart.  Cub 1 was born in 2000.  Cub 2 was born in 2004.  Cub 3 was born in 2008.  Cub 4 was born in 2010.  Huh?…..SURPRISE!!!

I’m a planner, and Cub 4’s early arrival rocked my entire world.  I cried for about two weeks and couldn’t wrap my head around how we would manage two babies who were going to be 18 months apart!  We discovered that we needed a bigger table in the kitchen, we needed to figure out new sleeping arrangements for the cubs, we even had to buy a bigger vehicle to accommodate two car seats and a booster.  

I didn’t really get it yet, that God was in control and not me.  So, to ensure that we didn’t have anymore surprises, I convinced Poppa Bear (PB) to go “take care of himself” because if we did decide later on that we wanted more children, his procedure was reversible.  Little did we know that this procedure would lead to the discovery of prostate cancer.  Prostate cancer screenings are recommended beginning at the age of 40.  PB was 35.  Look at God!  

God knew I would still try to be in control.  

God knew what was ahead for PB.

God knew that having PB go through that procedure would reveal a bigger issue.

God knew that PB wouldn’t make it to his 40th birthday if the prostate cancer hadn’t been discovered earlier.

God gave Cub 4’s life a purpose before she was even introduced to us.

God knew that I needed a lesson on trusting in Him, and he orchestrated it in such a way that I felt convicted, forgiven, and extremely thankful.

Convicted for thinking that I was in control of my life.  Forgiven for how much I complained and the shame I felt for thinking that I needed to “help God out” like He didn’t know what He was doing.  Thankful that He has blessed PB to live six cancer-free years, and thankful for Cub 4. 

Cub 4’s entrance into our lives has been pure joy and happiness.  

She is our little dancing machine.  

She is always smiling and friendly to everyone.  She is creative and active.

She is loved by all who know her, especially our Party of Six!  Most importantly, she is a daughter of the King!

Happy 7th Birthday to our baby cub!!

Mama Bear