Very often we look for growth in our children by comparing one developmental stage to the next. We can tell by a glance at the markings on the wall that one child grew 2 inches in one year or we can tell that last summers jeans are several sizes to small. It is a rare occasion when we get to experience growth as it occurs. First steps, toilet training, riding a bike. One minute the skill is not there, the next it is. Immediate measurable growth. When most of the firsts have already happened, and there are no more teeth to tuck under the pillow, and no more diapers to buy, we have to keep our eyes open for those moments of wonder that stop us in our tracks and make us say “Oh my.”
My my my....my baby grew up right before my eyes. Six months ago this trip would have been very hard for her. The crowds, the loud music, the late nights, being away from parents, and not having the comforts of home would have been a challenge. Something clicked inside her that gave her confidence to venture out and take responsibility for her own well being.
Of course, Cath, who is not only an amazing Team Manager, but a dear friend kept watch over Grace on my behalf, but there were times when I was in one place and Grace was across campus pin trading or rehearsing, or dining with friends. I had to trust her to remember all I have taught her about manners, responsibility, and personal safety. From Thursday through Saturday she was on her own, living at a hotel on campus, rehearsing, swimming, sleeping, and eating with her teammates. I spoke to her when she called to say goodnight and wish me sweet dreams.
When Grace entered Kindergarten she told me with certainty that she would not attend Nature’s Classroom in 5th grade. I told her I would never make her go. She held true to her conviction through 4th grade when she came out of school and never minded that her friends had the experience of living and learning away from home without her. This week she had her own version of “DI Classroom” on her own terms, when she was ready. Oh my.
At closing ceremonies, I had much to reflect on. Two daughters, two teams, two successful performances and challenges, and two very different experiences. DI made this possible. DI has been an investment, both financially and in terms of our lifestyle. We have sacrificed time with friends and family in order to make practices and prepare for movie screenings and build larger than life sets. I know that to those looking at it from outside the realm of DI, it may seem too much of a commitment, but the payoff justifies the effort. Winning and losing are part of life and the outcome of this tournament, while important, is not the most significant measure of growth. Being around my girls had made it clear to me that they grew as quantifiably as if I had just marked another line on their growth chart.
I am left reflecting on this week, smiling to myself and thinking “Oh my.”