So last night I was watching the world gymastics meet with my girls. My eldest daughter who is 7, has been involved with gymnastics since she was 3. My husband and I originally thought it would be a great way for her to get some of her energy out and also help her socialize and balance and other things she had problems with at that age from being born profoundly Deaf.
She's thrived far more than I could ever imagine. By the time she was 5 she was invited to our local gym's team program, that competes in a state rec league. She blew through the two compulsory levels (where the girls all have to do the same routine) and placed out into the second level of optionals. She's training for levels 3 and 4 and they only go through 5. She's by far the youngest girl, it's mostly middle and high school girls at this level, the state league is a lot less competitive than national Junior Olympics (JO) that feeds into the national and Olympic teams.
Her coach approached me after practice last week and says she thinks she would do really well on a JO team. The closest gym with a JO program is the county over, about an hour drive with dry roads and no traffic, but it's a drive that goes over the next mountain pass. If she stays competing that's a 2 hour minimum drive 4-5 days a week after school, for a 3 hour practice. Being a working single mom this will be really hard. Right now I've been looing at a specialized sexual assault child therapist for my youngest daughter, which would be in the city, an hour drive the other way. I love my girls and I'd do the world for them. I don't think we can make the committment now, but maybe in a year or two.
The other problem I couldn't quite articulate, came up when we watched the meet. USA Gymnastics has been on a huge crusade to revamp after the horrible sexual assault scandal and there were non stop ads for their gymnast safety programs. Gymnastics has been such a positive for my oldest daughter but I'm scared s***less. There will eventually reach a time where I can't be there every day watching every practice and going to every meet. I work full time, I'm a single mom and my youngest daughter needs a lot of help and suppport right now. I know it's not guaranteed sexual assault, but I never thought my baby girl would be at risk in our neighbor's care and look what happened.
Am I being irrational? Part of why I love my daughter being in gymnastics is it teaches her to be fearless. Because she's profoundly Deaf and communicates using ASL (American Sign Language) it's important to me to continue to foster these qualities, since they will help her succeed later in life in a hearing world. And I know I can't quit my job and keep the girls locked up in the house with me, that would be just as damaging.
I'm just so scared. I wish I was as fearless as my daughter but...
Does anyone have any advice? Or has experienced something similar?
Thank you, everyone have a wonderful day.
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