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Daughter retired. Mom can't.

Former L10 gym mom

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Apr 25, 2018
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I will admit up front that I realize that I am "that mom" that you never thought you would be. I feel horrible about it. Please, I'd like supportive advice, not bashing. My daughter graduated high school last year as a L10. She was known as the comeback kid. She suffered through more than her share of injuries, yet survived it all with a smile and hard work the whole time. She never let it get her down. Just kept going. One step after another. And she was talented. You don't get to L10 being hurt most of your high school years without being talented. She didn't get to compete much, get to have the "glory" of all her hard work, because of her ill timed injuries. We knew D1 was out of the question. Frankly, we thought college was out of the question at all. But a wonderful D3 coach (we fell in love with him instantly) showed a tremendous amount of interest in her. He even called her to tell her personally she'd been accepted to the school. To Mom (and that's a problem, I realize) this was an incredible chance being placed in front of her. Something we thought was out of her reach. Finally, she was going to soar, to reach the mountaintop. We had plans, We researched the schools. We researched the camps. We researched their college programs. We made a professional video. We promoted her. We, not just me, were so into it. Mom spent hours becoming a travel agent, to take 2 weeks off school/work and travel to all the D3s. Then it centered on this one school. She was struggling, she was tired of being injured. I don't know what all she was going through. We'd be the last to know. We were a team doing this tour. She and me. Together. It was a choice of going to this school across the country or a local large university we grew up on. I read back on earlier things I wrote and remember how she was straddling and committed to just go visit that one school. That it wasn't a fair decision without even doing that. And, in my opinion, what skin was it off her nose. A free trip! Well, as time passed, it became "my" thing, not "our" thing. And finally it became a huge thing between us. We can't even talk about gymnastics at all anymore. Not even about famous gymnasts. It is so sad. And I know some of it was how I handled it. I was trying to do what was best. We're all new at this. There's no book on how to do it right. I just felt so strongly that she was walking away from the gift she'd been given when it looked like it was over. And I was angry she broke her promise to just go look. She's at the state school. And she's having a good time. And she excels at everything, it's not like this was her only thing. She's intending on going to med school (being inspired by spending so much time at her orthopedist!). Y'all, I'm "that Mom." I hate it. I. HATE. IT. She's happy. She's never seemed to regret it for a second. She had a severe ankle injury before her last season. She admits it was a relief to her because she didn't have to make a decision, she could blame the injury. What do I do? I literally think I'm angry. It's horrible. I shouldn't be this way. I've got an appointment set up for the 2 of us to go to a counselor over Christmas, but I just don't know how to change my inner most feelings, even if I know their wrong. Please tell me I'm not the only mom who has gone through this? I don't want to be her, but I am. Help!
 

Former L10 gym mom

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Apr 25, 2018
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Funny, I just did a search and realized that I posted about this in july of 2018! Sad. I'm still not over it. She ended up destroying her ankle at a fall camp that was a tradition for the optionals. Tore everything you could tear. It's technically how she "retired." But, if she's had the inclination, she could have still dont only some of the events, for instance, she was very good on bars. There was no definite it wouldn't every be strong enough again, but there was no effort to find out. And, I had talked about a long 8 college trip. That didn't happen. All I ended up asking her was to commit to see just the one college. After all, how can you make a decision without even walking the campus. She had said she was going to, then she refused. Just shut it all down. I feel like she betrayed me a bit. She didn't even try the one thing that I felt was fair to ask of her before she made the decision. And, having been to a big college (the college she is now attending) and knowing her personaity, I had really felt she would thrive better at the smaller campus - gymnastics or not. Anyway, just an update.
 

Cmumgym

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Apr 26, 2019
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Every child has made decisions in their life that may have not been what their parents wanted. Not even just in gymnastics. At the end of the day you need to accept that your child will make decisions for themselves and whether their positive or negative it’s their own journey they need to experience. On a positive note it’s a good thing you haven’t forced her to go see that college you have let her decide. Even when you are hurt by it. It’s a one door closes another one opens type of thing. But by you continuously reflecting over the past will end up ruining your relationship. Focus on the future and what else other than gymnastics you can bond over. You already know that it sounds like you wanted to live through her experiences and it’s not the best outlook. So focus on her interests now and move on from gymnastics unless she brings it up. There’s plenty of times people look back and think what if I had done this instead of that. But that’s life. Family is more important than anything.
 

gymmom10

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Dec 16, 2012
303
I am so sorry you are going through this. I hear the pain in your words... I do understand why you are so emotional about this and think it is the nature of this sport for many parents to be heavily invested in it along with their kids. You see how much time and effort they are sacrificing over the years, throw in various amounts of lost social activities and injuries and you live through all these things with them. Not to mention if your child is one who tells you her hopes and dreams you can get sucked in right along that way as well. So I totally get it and I’m sure I was one who cared too much also. However, all you can do as they get older, is point out things that they might not be seeing, and once you have done that, let it go. You have got to let it go, for the sake of having a healthy relationship with your daughter going forward. You are on the right track to go to a counselor. I think you would probably also benefit by going yourself and talking this through. My daughter (college) doesn’t do some things that I would most like her to do, and if I push she would shut me down. I just have to respect that she’s an adult and to let her make her decisions now. It is hard. Peace to you.
 

gymmom10

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Dec 16, 2012
303
Wanted to add to my post....
After seeing your daughter struggle for years with injuries, it’s only natural to want some sort of ‘payoff’ -college gym, which would make it all worth it. I think many parents feel this way, even if their kids haven’t had a lot of injuries. But perhaps in your daughter’s case, her payoff won’t be college gym, but something else that you can’t see yet, where all those years of grit and determination and struggle are exactly what are going to make her perfect for this other thing. And it will have been worth it.
Conversely, everyone holds up College gym as the perfect goal, but for some it is not the happy ending. Four more years of further injuries and wear and tear on the body, pressure etc. it’s possible that could have been tough for your daughter given prior injuries. You never know...
 

3cats

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Nov 5, 2018
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I've told my daughter that some time to mourn the loss of her sport is expected and needed for me. My daughter has internally separated herself from gymnastics over the last 6 months. But for me it happened a month and a half ago when she rocked our world by announcing she was done with gymnastics.

It is a whole life change.

I find myself looking up meet schedules. Looking at old gym's Facebook page. Wondering how her old teammates practices would look like now as they prepare for their first meet. Probably run through time for routines. I can see the meets my daughter was entered into on her USAG member page. I still get all the emails from Coach about upcoming practice changes.

And I want to tell my daughter it isn't too late. She can get back into the gym. She can work her butt off and still get to that first meet and the rest of the season will be hers. It was going to be a great level 8 season. It's only been less than 2 months.

And she would do it. Because she knows how much I wanted it for her. How much I believe in her talent.

And she would be miserable.

Her ongoing knee pain, that still hasn't subsided after this time off. Her debilitating fears from a bad fall on beam midway through summer. Her anxiety with competition. The coaches yelling at her all the time for not working hard enough, and not taking it seriously enough. And not being enough in general. All of that, all of those things that she closed the door on bc it wasn't making her happy. She would have to face again.

So I sit and wait for my mourning period to fade away. And I do my best to enjoy her smiles as she tries so many new things. And I love her excitment at the sheer unscripted future she now has before her feet. I keep my feelings to myself.

All this to say. It's ok to be sad. It's ok to miss it. You and your daughter will get past this. Your relationship will heal. This transition time is hard bc the new things haven't started to show their rewards yet. But they will.

And we will all be ok.
 

LJL07

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Aw, your posts made me tear up. Not even at level 10 yet, but I’m “that mom” too. And I have a couple of dear friends who feel the same way about their daughters who made it to 10 but it’s been very rocky. The level of commitment in terms of time, money, and the emotional roller coaster is just so much. I can’t remember who on this board said it, but it was a wise parent/moderator who had lived through all the levels. “This sport can breed the worst kind of obsession in parents because of what it demands.” It’s so true. It will take time to heal for sure. I think counseling is a great idea. There is so much more to life outside of a gym. I have to remind myself of this often. Give yourself some time. I hope one of the veteran parents who has been through it all will weigh in too.
 

ldw4mlo

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I think its good you are going to therapy. Its long past time for you to focus on you and get your own life and identity.

I am not sure why she is though...... She seems to be at peace with her choices.
 

Gymx2

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Oct 9, 2015
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I think you are being too hard on yourself. Of course, it was always her sport, but you were there with her every step of the way as her support system, sounding board, and cheerleader, and it sounds like gymnastics was something that you and your daughter bonded over for years. You drove her to all of those practices, the meets, the doctor's appointments, the PT, and arranged your schedule around her sport. I think it's normal to grieve having such a big piece of your life gone. Counseling sounds like a very positive step forward.

Be kind to yourself.:)
 
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ausnat83

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Mar 13, 2019
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I think that grieving the end of something that has been a big part of your life, and the closing of a dream that you had for you daughter is natural and normal. Even if your daughter was still doing gymnastics in college, your role would have changed tremendously, and you'd be having to deal with that. It's hard, and that's ok. And it sounds like your daughter is handling the loss (at least in your eyes) easier than you are, which may naturally provoke some resentment and frustration.

But - and I say this with nothing but compassion in my heart for both you and your daughter - you need to process and get through it. Go see that therapist on your own before you even consider bringing her in there. Find ways to focus on other things - try taking 5 minutes every day to pause and write down a non-gymnastics achievement, action, or characteristic of your daughter that makes you proud or that you admire. Make a decision to see the freed up time and energy you have now as a resource you can now re-allocate - find a hobby, a volunteer commitment, something to learn, etc. Make a decision not to miss out on your daughter's next stage (or stages) of life because you can't let go of the last one.

Nothing is going to bring gymnastics back, but if you don't make a change now, you're likely to push your daughter away and miss out on being by her side in the coming years. If she can't trust you to be happy for her when she's happy (even if that happy doesn't look like exactly what you dreamed of), to support her and offer advice when she faces challenges and big decisions without making things about you or getting overly attached to what you want for her instead of what she wants, then she'll need to distance herself from you to keep herself healthy. That's the worst case scenario here. Please don't let that happen.
 

ausnat83

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I'd like to add some praise of your daughter here as well. The decision to leave the sport is a hard one, and college selection is typically the first big life-impacting decision that teens face. It's scary, and hard, and often a case where there is no one perfect option. It sounds like she took the hard step of realizing that the sport was no longer serving her well, and it was time to walk away. So many adults don't have the wisdom and strength to do that - people stay stuck in bad jobs and bad relationships because making a decision to walk away from something that once made us happy (or that we thought would) and towards an unknown is HARD. She also realized that she needed to make that college decision about her, not about others. And once she made it, she went off to her new school and threw herself into the experience - she looked forward and focused on living her life, taking advantage of all of her new opportunities. We lose out on a lot when we stay focused on the past or on what could have been instead of what is and what still can be. I don't know your daughter, but it wouldn't surprise me if the reason she refused to go on that college visit was because she didn't want anything weakening her resolve to do what she knew she needed to do.

It sounds like you've raised a strong, wise, self-sufficient daughter who is ready to go out and conquer the world.
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
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You need counseling. Please seek help before your relationship with your healthy, happy, and successful child deteriorates even further.
 
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Sk8ermaiden

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May 6, 2013
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I can understand your feelings that college gymnastics would have been the payoff for over a decade of sacrifice and work. Maybe a chance to get that glory she missed out on with all the injuries in high school. It must have been very hard when she decided to retire instead. I know when my daughter moves on it will be difficult for me to move on from the gym world, but she can't stay in for me.

May I suggest that mother-daughter counseling might not be a great thing right now? I think it's a great idea for you to see a counselor to sort out and try to get past your own feelings before you sit down with her. She doesn't seem to have an issue. She managed to assert that she was done even though you were very insistent, and has moved on and is happy. You recognize that you have a lot of anger and resentment that you need to work out before it spills into your relationship with her and irreparably damages it. That kind of work should not be done for the first time in front of her. You need to have talked out the situation and gained some perspective before you talk to her about it. The things we say, even in a therapist's office can't be taken back.

I just worry that you sound like you know you're being "that Mom", but you also seem to still think she's wrong. That she at least owed you the college visit. That she should have taken the gift in front of her. She won't even let you say the word gymnastics to her and I worry that counseling is your way of forcing her to sit and talk to you about it. If you do that right now with your heart where it is, I think it's a very bad idea and will make the situation worse overall. You need to be in a better place first.

That's just my opinion. Gymnastics is NOT worth ruining your relationship.
 

Former L10 gym mom

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Apr 25, 2018
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I've told my daughter that some time to mourn the loss of her sport is expected and needed for me. My daughter has internally separated herself from gymnastics over the last 6 months. But for me it happened a month and a half ago when she rocked our world by announcing she was done with gymnastics.

It is a whole life change.

I find myself looking up meet schedules. Looking at old gym's Facebook page. Wondering how her old teammates practices would look like now as they prepare for their first meet. Probably run through time for routines. I can see the meets my daughter was entered into on her USAG member page. I still get all the emails from Coach about upcoming practice changes.

And I want to tell my daughter it isn't too late. She can get back into the gym. She can work her butt off and still get to that first meet and the rest of the season will be hers. It was going to be a great level 8 season. It's only been less than 2 months.

And she would do it. Because she knows how much I wanted it for her. How much I believe in her talent.

And she would be miserable.

Her ongoing knee pain, that still hasn't subsided after this time off. Her debilitating fears from a bad fall on beam midway through summer. Her anxiety with competition. The coaches yelling at her all the time for not working hard enough, and not taking it seriously enough. And not being enough in general. All of that, all of those things that she closed the door on bc it wasn't making her happy. She would have to face again.

So I sit and wait for my mourning period to fade away. And I do my best to enjoy her smiles as she tries so many new things. And I love her excitment at the sheer unscripted future she now has before her feet. I keep my feelings to myself.

All this to say. It's ok to be sad. It's ok to miss it. You and your daughter will get past this. Your relationship will heal. This transition time is hard bc the new things haven't started to show their rewards yet. But they will.

And we will all be ok.
There are some differences, but my goodness, it's like you got into my brain and my heart. You know what I'm going through. She's halfway through her freshman year of college and I still think that she could still train and get it back and transfer schools! I guess once sophomore year starts, maybe I'll realize it's too late. I know it's a period of mourning. I know it will pass. I just wish it would! I am just stuck! Counting her time with her ankle injury, it's probably been 1 1/2 years! I am so over being in this sad place! And since she won't discuss anything related to gymnastics with me, it's like I lost even more. I lost my buddy talking about a sport we both enjoyed. Sharing cool moves we saw on youtube. I'll share one every once and a while (not much anymore) and she just says nothing. And when she says she doesn't have friends (or some passing comment about being at a big school) I grit my teeth not to say that's why I wanted you to consider the smaller/close knit school. My daughter is wonderfully successful and gifted in so many ways. She's going to be a doctor some day. She's jumped into college with a zest for this new life. When do I get to the point of appreciated this next chapter?

And, to make me even more of a monster, I am a horribly overweight person. It runs in my family. We're all overweight to one degree or another. I want nothing more than for her never to have that lifelong battle. Its already in her genes. So she's got to work to keep the monster down. It upsets me to see how lean and fit she was and to watch her slowly fade from that. Not in a superficial way, but it's just sad. She's going there and nothing I can do will stop it. She's sensitive about it, so you have to be very careful what you say. But she put on the freshman 15 long before she became a freshman. She put that on while she was injured her senior year. She's put on another 15 since then. It's hard to watch those muscles be replaced and fade away. It's hard to have to gently tell her she can't wear those bodycon, body clinging clothes anymore right now. Her whole closet had to change. I truly am trying healthy alternatives for her - there's a healthy kitchen there that costs more. I tell her to go there, the cost is ok. I encouraged her to join a group called Chaarge that is a group for exercising. I was glad she did that and seems to enjoy it. But, it worries me when I see pictures from now and then. You know, she knows she's gained but she doesn't realized the degree yet. The person is the last to see it. Just another offshoot of frustration and sadness from this.
 

Former L10 gym mom

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She knows and they’re going, she asked for no bashing and this is close.
Thank you for responding to the comment. I was about to just delete my comment. This is the 2nd comment of this type I have received. It took a lot to be that open about what a horrible person I am. I am just reaching out for support and help from my community.
 

Former L10 gym mom

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Apr 25, 2018
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I can understand your feelings that college gymnastics would have been the payoff for over a decade of sacrifice and work. Maybe a chance to get that glory she missed out on with all the injuries in high school. It must have been very hard when she decided to retire instead. I know when my daughter moves on it will be difficult for me to move on from the gym world, but she can't stay in for me.

May I suggest that mother-daughter counseling might not be a great thing right now? I think it's a great idea for you to see a counselor to sort out and try to get past your own feelings before you sit down with her. She doesn't seem to have an issue. She managed to assert that she was done even though you were very insistent, and has moved on and is happy. You recognize that you have a lot of anger and resentment that you need to work out before it spills into your relationship with her and irreparably damages it. That kind of work should not be done for the first time in front of her. You need to have talked out the situation and gained some perspective before you talk to her about it. The things we say, even in a therapist's office can't be taken back.

I just worry that you sound like you know you're being "that Mom", but you also seem to still think she's wrong. That she at least owed you the college visit. That she should have taken the gift in front of her. She won't even let you say the word gymnastics to her and I worry that counseling is your way of forcing her to sit and talk to you about it. If you do that right now with your heart where it is, I think it's a very bad idea and will make the situation worse overall. You need to be in a better place first.

That's just my opinion. Gymnastics is NOT worth ruining your relationship.
I do think y'all are right about me going alone. I wouldn't want her to know my inner most thoughts on this. My anger. That's for me to work out and she doesn't ever need to hear it. It couldn't ever be unheard. Eventually, we need to go together though. Get to a point where we can be at peace with what was her life up until now. We can't just pretend we have no past. We need to get to a point where we can share in the joys and laughter as well as the lows of her life up until this point. To lose the ability to talk about it altogether is to lose 15 years of our life together.
 

ausnat83

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You are not a monster. You are not a bad mom. You are a human, with human feelings. You have your own hangups and insecurities, like weight (we all do), and your own feelings about the loss of a major part of you and your daughter's life together and separate. That is not wrong, and those feelings are not invalid. Have compassion for yourself in that area. But, as I tell my kids and myself, feelings are all valid, but that doesn't mean it's ok or desirable to let those feelings drive our behavior at all times, or that we shouldn't take active steps to help process and work through them. One of the big challenges as parents (because we're still actual people with actual feelings) is learning to separate our own "stuff" from that of our kids, and remembering that it's not our kids' job to help us work through our feelings.

That's why I really do think that it would be beneficial for you to go see a counselor on your own before considering bringing in your daughter. That's not a critique or meant to be shaming - it doesn't mean you're wrong to feel how you feel, or crazy, or anything like that (seriously - I have a therapy appointment tomorrow). But you have feelings and thoughts that are causing you distress internally and in your relationship with your daughter. Having someone to talk them through that isn't involved and doesn't have anything at stake in terms of being able to say "this is the right or wrong way to (gym)parent and I would never do X" is incredibly helpful. Talk through gym ending. Talk through feelings about your daughter leaving home, and about her not taking your advice on college selection, and the difficult transition to not having the same daily role in a child's life that happens when they leave home (all major life transitions that parents go through and often struggle with). Talk through your own feelings and preconceptions about weight and how you can be conscious in not projecting them on your daughter, which is something I feel is an eternal mom struggle, for myself included. Get some feedback on when and how to discuss your feelings with your daughter, and ideas to help rebuild a relationship with a kiddo who's in a totally different place in life now (and should be - she's growing up).
 

gymgal

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Sorry you are going through such a hard time letting go. We as parents put so much into this sport and when it is over, it's like we have lost something ourselves even though we never physically participated in it. It's ok to grieve for that and individual counseling could really help you. As for pair counseling, you have to be able to get past these feelings of betrayal and anger before you can begin to work with her on repairing the relationship. I wouldn't seek out counseling with her until you have resolved your personal feelings regarding the sport and how it was ended. You mention that you are angry that she didn't go through with the college visits. Would you have been ok with her completing the trip and then telling you she still didn't want to pursue college gym? Did you think/hope that seeing the school and meeting with the coach would have changed her mind? To give a little perspective - would you really want her to be across the country, continuing gymnastics for 4 more years with the potential for more major injuries, having her whole college life be consumed with a sport she no longer loves, mostly because her family wanted her to keep going? Life it too short to keep doing something that no longer brings you joy. I know that's how I looked at it when my daughter was wavering on whether she wanted to pursue college gym, after a major injury and several smaller ones that messed up three of her four L10 seasons. She decided to continue because, in her words, she wasn't done yet - she had more to prove to herself. But it could have easily gone the other way and while I would have been sad and had signs of withdrawal from so many years of gymnastics, I would have been fine with her walking away, despite all that time, money, and energy I put into it for her. In the end, all that matters is that my d is happy and pursuing her dreams (responsibly). You say your daughter is happy, involved in other interests, and is excelling. You need to find a way to let this go and be happy that she has made such a smooth transition and on her own terms. Work hard to find ways to connect with her in areas that she is interested in now.
 

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