This morning, 6 a.m., I dropped her off at school and she climbed onto a yellow bus filled with enthusiastic, yet somewhat drowsy cheerleaders each with identical shorts and tee shirts. Cheer camp weekend! The team will arrive at a high school a few towns over before 8, register and begin their very scheduled day at 9. Warm ups, chant class, dance class, stunt class, jump class, private coaching, cheer class and evaluation until 9:30 p.m., to be repeated tomorrow until they board the bus again at 9:00 p.m. In between, they will sleep on the gym floor.
Probably while she was still on the bus, Julia texted me to say “hi” and after I responded and said, “love you,” she wrote “love you too mom.”
But that was hours ago . . . .
Cheer season began mid-July with a new coach. Julia started going to practices last week. Three times a week until school begins and then twice a week and games. Julia is still enthusiastic. The new coach is inclusive and welcomed Julia. Many on the team know Julia now and greet her and steer her in the right direction.
I have been quiet and at home most of the day. I’m meeting some friends tonight in a burst of childless socializing. Tomorrow, I’ll go to church, garden and then immerse myself in the novel for as long as I can hold my breath.
Yeah, I’m nervous. This is Julia’s first overnight on her own with people who are friendly and will lend a hand but who are not autism or special ed experts. I am hoping that she participates with her team, that she doesn’t get overwhelmed and grab her journal to drawn for a substantial part of the day, that she jumps and cheers, that she eats and sleeps on the gym floor. I am relying on her initiative, her perseverance to gain this skill set that she alone desires for herself.
I worry that Julia as an adult will not be self-motivated to find and do work that is fulfilling. My anxiety is somewhat assuaged by her determination to be a cheerleader.
Although Julia has not had many night away from me, traveling with me has given her a taste for adventure. She boarded the bus with sleep bag, pillow and bag like a typical teenager.
I still don’t quite know where this desire for cheer came from but thank the goddess for it!
Part of my work this year is loosening the reigns a bit. She needs to take steps away from me. Safe steps to be sure, but steps nonetheless.
I never really doubted it, but it’s good to see I am pretty happy left on my own.
Now . . . I just have to be patient and wait for her text message.