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Daughter retired. Mom can't.

L10 mom

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This is almost my story. We didn’t have the college visits lined up, but I wanted her to finish the season I had just paid for—-new uniform, new floor routine, meet fees. She could have done beam and floor with one or no arms, I even had a list of skills that would fulfill all level 10 requirements that required no arms. But she refused. It was like a death in the family. I cried. She rebelled. It was the middle of her senior year and too late to play other sports at high school, even track. She had been offered a scholarship to a college to be on their gymnastics team, they made promises, they knew she was having elbow surgery and they were fine with it; then a week after her surgery just texted her and basically said “Never mind.” I know it crushed her, but she acted like it didn’t. That didn’t help and was a terrible way to treat her. She basically rebelled and cut her family out of her life for 2 years. I could only watch her at the gym as she was now a coach and her sister was still there. She wouldn’t even acknowledge me or any of us for over a year, and believe me when I say that I didn’t even push her to keep going in the sport, I just mourned by myself when I thought about it, and drove myself crazy with what should have been, what could have been, what wasn’t fair.

Her teammate of 8 years went to that school I mentioned and competed for them. 2 other teammates also got full scholarships to other schools. Do you know I couldn’t even look at their Facebook pages or Instagram for a couple years without a feeling of resentment? I wanted to be happy for them, I knew I should be, but I couldn’t help the resentment, because it “wasn’t fair!”. And I couldn’t say a word because I’d have been judged as “that mom” and an awful person. And I still had a little one in the sport, and when they hung up the college banners for ODD’s teammates in the gym, I went home and cried because she should have been up there too. I still tear up when I watch her old videos.

I will never judge a parent who mourns for what could have been in gymnastics, or who is having a hard time letting go, because I was there and if you weren’t, you just can’t understand it. You can tell us all what we should be doing and saying, you can tell us all day that “it’s not your sport/decision/life,” but it doesn’t change the feelings and emotions we have and did have.

The Bible says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” And how true it is in this case.

I’m okay now, but it took about 3 years to let go of the resentment. Now it’s just regrets. Regrets that we didn’t take the vacation we’d planned the week she broke her foot at practice; regrets about choosing the wrong doctor for another injury that ruined her arm; regrets that she didn’t retire sooner and could have tried another sport in high school; regrets that Her dreams didn’t work out the way she’d planned. I’m happy for all the girls now that are still getting scholarships. I‘ve made my peace, but it takes time. And people telling me to get over it would not have helped me through it. So take heart, Mama, you will get through this too. Just don’t chase after your daughter and insist she talk to you. Hopefully you both can get make it through to the other side and emerge with an intact relationship. Don’t beat yourself up over your feelings, because they are real and valid. Just like everything that’s hard, it will take time, but you’ll be okay.
Thank you so much for sharing with me! You mentioned things I hadn't even thought about but were equally as true. I, too, struggle with resentment. I know it's not right. I want to simply be happy for her friends successes. But it's so hard to watch folks who, while truly talented and deserving, never had the struggle of injuries to set them back. To always be relearning what they already had. My daughter was on top of the world. She had nothing but sunshine ahead of her with her talent and where she had gone so far. So, yes, it's not mature or right, I get that, but yes, there is resentment watching those she was ahead of bypass her while she got to condision through an injury. Her last team banquest was supposed to be her night. They make a big speech about the graduating senior. But, while she got her speech, she was overshadowed by the announcement of a talented teammate making a D1 commitment. She didn't have her night. It was like she was already gone and forgotten. (She had continued to stay at the gym and condition / coach during her senior year after her ankle injury because she and her coach always wanted her to be a gymnast through her graduation). Right now, I'm going through the tug of war between watching all these gymnastics clips on Instagram then deleting anything gymnastics related that I was following. I love gymnastics. I don't want to lose that. But then I don't know if i can bear to love it right now. Does it make it better or worse to watch similarly talented girls, teammates, etc. Thank you for sharing with me. It helps so much to not be alone, even though I have to get past this. It helps to know that there are others that have been here and that I'm not just this woman who needs counseling.
 
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ausnat83

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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.
You posted this while I was typing my last comment. I think you're right here.

The only thing I'll disagree with - the last 15 years of your life has NOT been just gymnastics. You are her mom. There has been so much more than rides to gym and tuition and watching practices and competitions. And youth sports is about so much more than the sport itself - it's people first, athletes second, and gymnasts third. Your daughter will carry the lessons and traits she learned forward into everything she does. Even if it took decades to get to where you each enjoyed talking about gymnastics, that doesn't have to take away from the incredible, incomparable bond between a mom and her child.

Also, I touched on this before, but it's worth a little more focus. Defining new boundaries, finding new roles for each other in your own and each other's lives, establishing new patterns of independence vs interdependence, and finding new ways to bond and enjoy time with each other are all very normal struggles during a child's transition to college (or just away from home). It's ok for it to be a struggle, and to have all sorts of mixed feelings and some pain and anxiety involved. You are neither the first or last parent of a college freshman to feel like you and your child don't have a common interest to bond over right now. I suspect that as you work through things, you may be able to separate out some of the gymnastics stuff from the "my baby is growing up and leaving" stuff that most parents go through.
 

gymgal

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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.
While obviously gym took up a huge portion of those 15 years, there has to be other special memories in there as well. To think otherwise would be to say all that was important was gymnastics and she was just a gymnast. Focus on memories of School, family, vacations, etc. In time, she may want to talk more about her gymnastics life but for now let it go. She is trying to remake herself and it sounds like she is doing a great! Embrace it.
 

L10 mom

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You posted this while I was typing my last comment. I think you're right here.

The only thing I'll disagree with - the last 15 years of your life has NOT been just gymnastics. You are her mom. There has been so much more than rides to gym and tuition and watching practices and competitions. And youth sports is about so much more than the sport itself - it's people first, athletes second, and gymnasts third. Your daughter will carry the lessons and traits she learned forward into everything she does. Even if it took decades to get to where you each enjoyed talking about gymnastics, that doesn't have to take away from the incredible, incomparable bond between a mom and her child.

Also, I touched on this before, but it's worth a little more focus. Defining new boundaries, finding new roles for each other in your own and each other's lives, establishing new patterns of independence vs interdependence, and finding new ways to bond and enjoy time with each other are all very normal struggles during a child's transition to college (or just away from home). It's ok for it to be a struggle, and to have all sorts of mixed feelings and some pain and anxiety involved. You are neither the first or last parent of a college freshman to feel like you and your child don't have a common interest to bond over right now. I suspect that as you work through things, you may be able to separate out some of the gymnastics stuff from the "my baby is growing up and leaving" stuff that most parents go through.
You are 100% right on both fronts. It was not all gymnastics. And I don't want to not be able to enjoy talking about her childhood because, if something is mentioned that comes anywhere close to something gymnastics related, she clams up. You can't just wash away your whole life and never talk about it again. I believe that's her way of handling it. She separated long before she said it outloud. Most gymnasts do. And I think, especially because Mom is having such a hard time with it, there's no grey. Just black and white for her. She will not acknowledge that she was a gymnast. That's just gone. And it's sad. And it doesn't help that her coach just sort of walked away from her and we don't know why. That hurt her a lot too. But, we lose a chunk of what was us/our family, if we pretend we weren't a gymnastics family.

And golly, you hit me right on with the freshman separation thing. I honestly hadn't grouped that in to this. But when you say it, it makes sense. We were always a team. Me and my buddy. We bonded over her gymanstics and everything. And she is away now. And it didn't take more than a week for her to no longer need to facetime us. And she is too busy to even tell us what she did for Halloween or the like. She is on her own and doesn't need me now. And I guess that would be painful even without all the other.

Parenting sucks sometimes!
 

3cats

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This poem by Morgan Harper Nichols has brought me much peace as my daughter makes her amazing metamorphosis. I imagine it is how her mind feels as she is exploring her new direction. Maybe it will give you inspiration as well.

I do wish you and you daughter well. One step at a time, one day after the other. A year from now you will look back and be amazed at far you both have journeyed.
 

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ldw4mlo

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I will never judge a parent who mourns for what could have been in gymnastics, or who is having a hard time letting go, because I was there and if you weren’t, you just can’t understand it. You can tell us all what we should be doing and saying, you can tell us all day that “it’s not your sport/decision/life,” but it doesn’t change the feelings and emotions we have and did have.

And people telling me to get over it would not have helped me through it.
No one has judged.

And no one has said told anyone “to get over it”.

People feel what they feel. And that doesn‘t mean they shouldn’t get help dealing with those feelings.

To the OP the best thing you can do for your daughter and yourself......Is to help yourself.

And please back off on her weight, what she eats, what exercise she gets.....
I’m sure she is well aware of how her body has changed.

Please take care of yourself. Be a positive example for her.
 

L10 mom

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No one has judged.

And no one has said told anyone “to get over it”.

People feel what they feel. And that doesn‘t mean they shouldn’t get help dealing with those feelings.

To the OP the best thing you can do for your daughter and yourself......Is to help yourself.

And please back off on her weight, what she eats, what exercise she gets.....
I’m sure she is well aware of how her body has changed.

Please take care of yourself. Be a positive example for her.
No one has judged.

And no one has said told anyone “to get over it”.

People feel what they feel. And that doesn‘t mean they shouldn’t get help dealing with those feelings.

To the OP the best thing you can do for your daughter and yourself......Is to help yourself.

And please back off on her weight, what she eats, what exercise she gets.....
I’m sure she is well aware of how her body has changed.

Please take care of yourself. Be a positive example for her.
Please don't take any offense on either side on the comments from GAGymmom. I completely understood what she said. She was not saying anyone on here this specific time was judging necessarily. She was speaking from experience of how it feels in general. I totally appreciated it.

The weight - I notice it and it makes me very sad. I try to encourage positive activities without it being about weight. More that I want her to eat healthy. Or that the Chaarge group sounds perfect for her to make friends and have accountability partners while having fun (and she loves it). Unfortunately, the food available to her that is convenient on campus is not healthy. But rest assured, I am totally careful to not pressure her on this. You are correct. She knows. I don't think she sees the amount yet, she'll be the last one to realize it, but she knows. Trust me, please trust me, I am so so consious about saying anything to negatively effect her here.
 

L10 mom

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I have gotten some really interesting things here.

First, I realize that I'm not alone. Some of you could have been in my brain when you wrote. That is so helpful. It makes me know that while I need to find a way out, I'm not all alone.

I had not given enough thought to the way college separation plays into this no matter if she was a gymnast or not. I realize it completely is playing in. I've lost my buddy. In more ways than just gymnastics. She wants to be with her friends now, not me. That gymnastics time was also our time - trips together, looking at leos together, etc. It was a "together" thing.

I realize that yes, I would want to go to a counselor alone first. I would never want her to hear my untethered thoughts on this. To answer why she needs to go with me eventually, we have to find a healthy heal, on both sides. We can't just pretend the last 18 years didn't exist. Her childhood and teenage years were full of love. To deny they exist would be a loss to us all.

And, you reinforced, mostly kindly, that I would benefit from counseling for this. Which is what I already said. But I had not thought about just going alone.

Thank you.

I wish there was a way to take a pill, a 10 step program, something!

Question - do you find it better to cut off all connection to the gymnastics world during this time? Watching Instagram clips, etc? Or is that a bad idea too?
 
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bookworm

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Well I'm late to the party so to speak but I have been in your shoes, on 2 fronts..

1. You say that you can't get over your daughter leaving the sport because she was talented/put years in/betrayed you by not at least visiting 1 of the 8 schools scheduled on your D3 tour/ whatever reason....and she won't even talk to you about the sport now...well this was my husband , many moons ago when my daughter qualified to elite at 12 years old , did it for a few years, hated it and dropped back to level 10...and he lost it..."why? ""She's talented enough to do elite why should she just do 10", didn't come to many meets the first year she dropped back ...it really harmed their relationship such that my talented 7 year level 10 daughter , who got a full ride at a D1 school didn't think she "was ever good enough for Daddy"

It took many years to repair their relationship..I had to remind him that gymnastics was HER sport and she didn't owe us anything but an honest effort. And as someone pointed out, if she wasn't enjoying doing elite gymnastics , what was the point? She did enjoy competing as a 10. I told him "keep this up and you'll lose her forever" ... it was rough but he finally came around and was a huge supporter for her last 5 years as a 10 and her whole NCAA career ... and this experience prepared him for when...

2. My youngest daughter, multi year level 10 who also had a D1 full ride, but tore her ACL her Junior year, and 5 surgeries and 2 years of PT later, announced in October of her Sr year of high school that she was relinquishing her scholarship and was done with gymnastics! To say we were surprised would be an understatement and the college didn't pull her scholarship but she decided she wanted to "go in a different direction" so we retook the SATs, toured a few schools, applied and got in, she went to football games and parties and school functions her Sr year that she'd never been able to do before ... and my husband was ok this time because he had learned that gymnastics was HER sport until it wasn't...and no amount of parental angst ,desire, resentment etc changes that. Their relationship never suffered because he'd learned his lesson the hard way with my oldest. And now she dives for her university and loves it..and we're going to swim and dive meets and we've never looked back.

Each kid has their own path and I'm not going to tell you it was always easy but after speaking with my oldest who assured me that my youngest had been considering retirement for months, I was at peace with it because she was. I was sad that retirement from gymnastics was forced upon her by injury but when that door closed, the diving door opened and that is her path.

At some point OP, you just have to reconcile that the big school with no gymnastics IS your daughter's path , and embrace it. I think because you qualify some of her choices maybe she doesn't feel she's free to share them with you because even after a year and a half out of gym, you still kinda cling to the "if she works hard, she could get back to it"...she's done and she's ok with it and she needs you to be okay with it. I wish you good luck and if you really miss gymnastics that much, take a judging course and live vicariously that way!
 

ldw4mlo

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Question - do you find it better to cut off all connection to the gymnastics world during this time? Watching Instagram clips, etc? Or is that a bad idea too?
That is probably something that is a very personal thing. Perhaps see if not watching makes you feel better or worse.........

While not gymnast related sometimes I have to face the thing that makes me sad.... so I can muddle through the sadness to the other side.
 

ldw4mlo

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At some point OP, you just have to reconcile that the big school with no gymnastics IS your daughter's path , and embrace it. I think because you qualify some of her choices maybe she doesn't feel she's free to share them with you because even after a year and a half out of gym, you still kinda cling to the "if she works hard, she could get back to it"...she's done and she's ok with it and she needs you to be okay with it. I wish you good luck and if you really miss gymnastics that much, take a judging course and live vicariously that way!
^^^
 

MILgymFAM

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Ok, I’m gonna be the bad guy here but you really shouldn’t be telling her- gently or not- that those clothes aren’t for her anymore. New body or old, any clothes she likes are for her. I’m sure you didn’t mean to, but that came off as terribly body shaming. I promise you she picks up on it just like I’d bet see does indeed see the weight gain. I’m overweight too- struggled my whole life- and one of my kids is heavier and one super thin, both dedicated athletes. One of the greatest successes of motherhood for me is that they both have equal confidence in their bodies, as they should.
 

ldw4mlo

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Ok, I’m gonna be the bad guy here but you really shouldn’t be telling her- gently or not- that those clothes aren’t for her anymore. New body or old, any clothes she likes are for her. I’m sure you didn’t mean to, but that came off as terribly body shaming. I promise you she picks up on it just like I’d bet see does indeed see the weight gain. I’m overweight too- struggled my whole life- and one of my kids is heavier and one super thin, both dedicated athletes. One of the greatest successes of motherhood for me is that they both have equal confidence in their bodies, as they should.
I don’t think she actually said anything yet
 

MILgymFAM

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I don’t think she actually said anything yet
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.
It reads to me that she has. I couldn’t imagine someone telling my heavier daughter that she couldn’t wear bodycon or a bikini- she’d tell them that she looks great and can wear what she likes, all while looking at them like they have three heads. Saying her daughter’s closet had to change in style rather than size is so not ok. Style doesn’t have a size.
 

TumbleTimes4

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I think somewhere along the way you lost your own identity. Her life became yours and you weren’t ready to be done when she was. I would encourage you to Find your identity again. What did you enjoy before your DD started gymnastics or even before you had kids? Yes go to therapy, but actively seek out your own identity and your own life again. It’s also possible that your DD has withdrawn because she feels your resentment and anger towards her. That would be very painful to have your mother who once supported you to feel as if she has turned on you, and perhaps shutting you out is her way of handling the pain she feels you have caused her.
 

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I haven't come close to this stage with my DD yet, but I also quit gymnastics based on an injury that I technically could have tried to come back from. I can't fully explain to you what it feels like to be relieved by an injury. In my experience it means that the adults in your life are so invested in your sport that you feel as though you will be a failure and a disappointment if you don't live up to their expectations. Being injured means you're allowed to quit without it being your fault. That isn't a happy feeling, and I'm glad you've recognized that those feelings of anger and betrayal you have aren't healthy or fair to your daughter. It sounds like you know this on an intellectual level, but are still struggling to feel it on an emotional one. The best thing you can do now is move on from the actual gymnastics side of things and focus instead on the skills that she learned in the gym that she actually is using in college. I'm guessing as a high level gymnast she excels at time management, has an excellent work ethic, is resilient and perseveres where others might give up, and is a generous friend among other things. She is using her gymnastics in college, as she will throughout her life, just in a less obvious way. So all those years were not a loss.

If you want my advice-- take a week or three and detox. Find other hobbies and activities you enjoy that might fill that gaping hole that gymnastics left. Go cold turkey for a while and see if that helps. I trust both you and your DD will find a way to enjoy gymnastics as a spectator, judge, or in her case even a coach someday in the future, but you may just need a break to remind yourself of all the wonderful things there are in the world that have absolutely nothing to do with gymnastics. It sounds like this is what your DD is already doing.
 

bookworm

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Another thing that struck me too in reading this whole thread is that the OP's name is "L10 mom" and your daughter has been out of gymnastics for over a year and a half...that signals to me that you still haven't given up thinking she will return to the sport as an athlete, and with all this time out, you're still not okay with her decision...and by her reaction to you, it seems that she senses/knows this, and until you come to grips with this however you want (counselor for you, cold turkey away from the sport, try judging, etc), I think she will continue to remain distant because I imagine she reads "disappointment/betrayal/not what I want" in your eyes...I know that was the case with my oldest and my husband when she quit doing elite and I urge you to rectify this whatever way you can.

I do want to add that I don't see that your daughter needs "counseling" on this, she's made up her mind and moved on with choices you may not agree with but seem to be congruent with her life goals.
 
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GAgymmom

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No one has judged.

And no one has said told anyone “to get over it”.

People feel what they feel. And that doesn‘t mean they shouldn’t get help dealing with those feelings.

To the OP the best thing you can do for your daughter and yourself......Is to help yourself.

And please back off on her weight, what she eats, what exercise she gets.....
I’m sure she is well aware of how her body has changed.

Please take care of yourself. Be a positive example for her.
Look, I didn’t say anyone judged her or said that anyone said for anyone to “get over it.” Why do you always do this? I said “I won’t judge” and I said it wouldn’t have helped me if someone told me to get over it. I never said anyone here did, did I? You always read into things and make comments like this, do you like the drama? I’m really offended that you felt the need to direct these comments towards me accusing me of something I didn’t say just so you could make a snarky, judgmental comment. I was telling L10 HOW I FELT and letting her know she’s not alone or a bad person, and that’s all. Good grief!
I'm not hijacking this thread either, so this is it. No more comments like this or about this from you, and I will not read any or respond if you do.
 

Sk8ermaiden

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I think counseling will help a lot. It will help to say the things you're feeling and bounce them off a reasonable person who has not been in the gymnastics bubble. And I agree that once you've been able to let go will be a good time to bring your daughter in so you can find out what she needs from you in order to be able to talk freely about gymnastics again.

You mention thinking "I told you so" when she doesn't like something about her school, but if she were at the other school, but NOT doing gymnastics, would you honestly be happy? And it's normal that as she quits this intensive sport and moves away that she gains some weight. And it's normal for you to worry about her health. But the time to teach her everything you could about nutrition and exercise was the 18 years she was home with you and now that she is an adult she has to make her own decisions on those things. Gymnastics wasn't going to last forever to keep her super fit - even if she had kept it up in college, she would have graduated and been facing these challenges 4 years from now.
 
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L10 mom

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Another thing that struck me too in reading this whole thread is that the OP's name is "L10 mom" and your daughter has been out of gymnastics for over a year and a half...that signals to me that you still haven't given up thinking she will return to the sport as an athlete, and with all this time out, you're still not okay with her decision...and by her reaction to you, it seems that she senses/knows this, and until you come to grips with this however you want (counselor for you, cold turkey away from the sport, try judging, etc), I think she will continue to remain distant because I imagine she reads "disappointment/betrayal/not what I want" in your eyes...I know that was the case with my oldest and my husband when she quit doing elite and I urge you to rectify this whatever way you can.

I do want to add that I don't see that your daughter needs "counseling" on this, she's made up her mind and moved on with choices you may not agree with but seem to be congruent with her life goals.
I've been a member for a while though I haven't signed on in forever. Recall, I said I realized I'd posted about this a year ago. When I joined she was still a L10. I would not have pick that name today. It was already my member name.
 
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