For Parents Sometimes I love gymnastics, sometimes I hate it

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gymmom14

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Proud Parent
May 21, 2008
427
Not to bum anyone out... but sometimes I just wish my dd played softall or basketball or track. This gymnastics just drives me nuts. It is as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport. It is year round with virtually no breaks. It is 20 hours a week of training... for what? To go to the Olympics, I don't think so. Its the driving to and from gym, the struggling to get that giant. Its the things she misses out on doing because shes at gym. Its the exhaustion of school and gym. The getting up for school and its dark and coming home from gym and its dark out.

On the other hand, I love that she loves it. She does it for herself and no one else. She loves her friends. I love that she is dedicated, hard working and organized. I love that she loves performing in front of a crowd and is so confident.

I just don't what her to think that gymnastics is who she is. It is just what she does (OK maybe its a bit more than that).

OK, I am over it now and feel much better venting. Does anyone else feel this way?
 
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gymjourneymom

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Mar 9, 2008
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Let me thank you for having the courage to admit your feelings! I TOTALLY hear what you are saying & I'm right there with you! Yes, our DD's could be doing so many other things & probably excelling at them. Especially if they just had some time to explore & practice other things. I hate the time commitment of upper level gymnastics. But there is so much that our DD's do get from the sport, as you have pointed out. My DD is 14yrs old & in highschool and again struggling with fear issues, L8 skills this year. She has struggled with fear issues since L6 & always manages to come thru with flying colors at states. But it's a painful process and I can't bear to watch her struggle anymore...it breaks my heart! Especially when I saw her dabble in school track last year & break school records without even trying, didn't even get winded or break a sweat! But...she says she doesn't love track...she loves gymnastics! I have to give her credit for not taking the easy road. And she doesn't see gymnastics as the torture that I do, b/c she loves it! I'm trying very hard to let her live her life & be supportive of her decisions. I love the young lady she has become! And gymnastics played a huge part in her becoming who she is today! Words cannot express how proud I am of her!!!! But realistically, knowing her severe fear issues & mental blocks, I know she will never get college scholarship in gymnastics. And I think if she would pursue track & field throughout highschool, colleges would want her for that. So as a mom what do I do??? Sorry to hijack your thread, but I thank you for having the courage to post your inner most thoughts, you gave me courage too!
 
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bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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Totally agree. My oldest has been injured since she was 9, she is now 13. She doesn't want to stop and she just perseveres through the physio, the stopping of training and the home work that she has to do. She falls behind and still wants to be involved, though she has decided to do less hours to keep her body healthier.

I love gymnastics, but I sometimes wonder if I had known then what I know now would I even let her begin gym. The costs are huge, time commitment is massive and it really is a huge part of our lives. (not even including this place)

My girls don't train mega hours, not possible at our gym and they will never go any where remotely near Elite, they love the sport, have strong bodies and minds and have learned much discipline through their training.

But there are many days when I think that just having dinner with them every night around the table would be lovely, instead of packing theirs into containers for gym the next day.

I am sure most of us feel the way you do, but maybe if it wasn't this it would be something else.
 
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starmaker

Guest
Let me tell I ask myself the same question from time to time: Why are we doing this again? There seems to be more negatives than positives sometimes. The time commitment, the expense, the toll on the body through the years, months and months of hard work for a total of 5 minutes of performance, the very short career (old at 20 yo), unproportionate body makes shopping for pants impossible, etc.

Sometimes I think why are we doing this again???? Olivia is the type that is great at everything she tries. I know if she could she would make a wonderful dancer, she is super artistic (if she is not upside down she is drawing), very muscially inclined, academically gifted yet here we are spending soooo much time and focus on gym. She has so many interests and hobby and I know eventually she will not be able to persue them. I wonder if gymnastic is too much of a sacrifice. I've tried talking to dd about signing up for other activities but she insist on gym. She says: Mama I was born to do this. (someone gave her shirt that says "born to be a gymnast" when she was tiny and she believes it with all her heart.

We haven't even started with the everyday schedule, mental blocks, and fear issues that I know are just around the corner. It just seems like too much sacrifice for too little gains.

Luckily the feeling passes. And watching Liv at the gym acquiring a skill for the first time, exceeding her own expectation, her face when she is praised or rewarded for her hardwork is priceless. And maybe Olivia is right and was born to be a gymnast. Who am I to say otherwise? I too worry about gymnastics defining who she is. I want to make sure she knows I love her regardless of gymnastics or any other talent. But she is also a very confident, self assured, independant 6 yo., who knows exactly what she like and doesn't and I wonder how much of that has to do with gymnastics.

Thanks for posting this.
 
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momofagymmie

Guest
I feel the same way. When dd started high school I kept telling her all the other stuff she could be doing. Yearbook, just show up and you're on the committe, even other sports, tennis ball is either in or out very simple rules, Field hockey the ball goes into the goal you win it doesn't you lose, So unlike gymnastics.... Well, dd would look at me and laugh. Other times she'd say how much she missed being outside. She was inside all day at school then again at the gym and how hard it is to wake in the dark and come home in the dark I always tell her she's welcome to leave the sport at anytime.

But then, she gets all excited at learning a new skill. Competing is still super exciting for her. She's learned to be focused and manage her time. it's an amazing sport to learn life lessons so then I'm ok with it again. She might have a shot at a college team so we'll try for it but then I sweat again thinking how unhappy she'll be if she doesn't get that chance. It's such a see saw of emotions up one moment down the next. Then again most of life is that way anyway isn't it? Perhaps just not as intensely so :)
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Panda-girl's Mom

Active Member
Jan 9, 2008
781
I agree it does get frustrating for parents at times,the time,the money and the commitment. I quess that is why alot of parents whose kids do not do gym think it is over the top. It is funny how frustrated I have been lately with the driving to practice and trying to pay for it all when at the same time my daughter has been supermotivated and totally excited about the upcoming meet season. I quess this balances it out. Sometimes I really wish I had just taken her to do gymastics at the local recreation center, I honestly had no vision of her competing on a team and traveling all over, we just kind of got sucked into it. I am almost jealous of the parents of kids who walk away from it. Anyway I am very proud of my daughter for sticking with a sport that is so tough.
 

mkr10

Member
Nov 20, 2007
50
I have had the same feelings over the years with my DD. Most of the time I was very happy that she is involved in this sport and enjoyed all that comes with it. She never had issues, always had an easy time getting her skills, but was never the perfectionist a gymnast has to be.....(if you know what I mean :)).
Anyway, she was training level 8 and made a decision to switch sports and pursue her love of tennis full time. It was not an easy decision and we think she still has second thoughts about it. She still does an advanced gymnastics class at her gym 4 hours a week not to lose her skills completely.

HOWEVER, once we got into the world of tennis and tennis tournaments we got a renewed appreciation for the gymnastics world. Although gymnastics is an individual sport, the team aspect of it and the fact that your coaches are there with you for competitions makes all the difference. And gymanstics meets are so much more fun and rewarding than tennis tournaments. In tennis you are ALONE. and if you don't win the tournament you basically just come, play your match and leave......

Luckily our younger daughter just started competing level4 so we are still involved with gymanstics as well!!!!!

So yes, the time commitment is huge, it is not cheap (although compared to tennis it is VERY cheap) but all in all it is a great sport that our girls gain lots from and have tons of fun while doing it. And us parents too, most of the time.
 
T

TeamDad

Guest
I think the quote is - "if gymnastics was easy, they'd call it football":D
 

NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
I think what makes gymnastics tougher than all other sports (other than the high demand on well rounded physiques) is the year around commitment. The higher the level the harder it becomes -- to the point that if you miss any more than a day at a time, it's a guarantied setback.

With that said, I don't think the commitment, the high cost, the endless hours, the travel, etc. are unique to gymnastics. Between my two daughters, there are 3 things they are involved in at a competitive level. But, unlike most other kids, they choose not to participate in school sponsored sports where cost is only a small fraction of what we spend.

I don't like to hijack this thread to talk about other sports but I feel that what I am about to share below could provide gym parents a different perspective (for those who aren't involved). It's actually a two way mirror as far as how we as gym parents view others as well as how they view us (there are a number of threads on the latter topic on CB). My intent of the rambling is not to belittle gymnastics, gymnasts and gym parents. Read it or ignor it as you see fit.

I think anyone who has a son/daughter who is dancing in a company can tell you how ridiculously the cost and time commitment is. At least in gymnastics, you get to keep your clothings/gears and we occasionally get to watch our gymnasts practice (sometimes). For an activity that is mostly subjective and scoring is entirely free for all (due to the lack of regulation), it really makes parents like me think whether it's worth it. I don't think I need to explain what the odd of success is in dance. Other than it being a passion and hobby, there is hardly anything that can be gained that is unique to this activity at a competitive level.

As for the all the other stuff that calls for commute travel, long hours, early waking hours and prep involving parents, hardly anything compares to ski racing. I always say gymnast parents really got it easy. Skiing is far more involved and technical than one thinks. The effect of this outspokenness is no different than what's similar to how non-gymnasts think of gymnastics.

Just to point out a few things,
- drive up to 2 hours or more as a regular commute (most people do not live next to a ski area) to a hill to train 4-6 hours 3 to 4 days/nights a week.
- Every week for 2-3 months, due to the short season, many parents spend 2-3 hours on the night before a race day tuning skis (normally into the late hours). Sometimes, this is done at a hotel if it's far enough from home. Then on the race day (the next day), wake up about 4-5 hours later to yank the kids out of bed (all grumpy) and get them ready (remember all the cloths and gears) in attempt to get to the hill by 8:00am after an hour or two drive.
- at the end of a race day, the second we get home we fish everything (and I mean everything) out of the bags either to get ready for laundry or to lay them out dry. This takes up a large section of the house and a lot of organization.
- regularly commit to housekeeping chores and race assignments as all ski clubs in the US are run by private or non-profit clubs. Almost all race officials are parents including judges. Opting to not volunteer is not an option (at least for long).
- even making it to the hill, parents don't always get to watch the kid compete either due to club chores back home or just miss it because they didn't get to the spot in time or you just have a bad viewing spot. (usually the viewing lasts about 5-10 secs)
- Unlike in gymnastics, if you don't do the sport yourself, you don't get to watch the competition (except MAYBE the finish line if that happens to finish at the lounge).
- Due to the limited climate condition for training, to make it big to the scenes, it's very common that kids are sent to academies that are located at selected regions in the country. There is no TOPS equivalent at the home hill. Either the child leaves home or you take a chance with the home club (many of which also do awesome job) and bank on the perceived talents of the coaches and athlete.
 
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NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
Also, forgot to point out that the compressed life of a gymnast's career lends gymnasts and everyone involved wanting to rush things through. IMHO, gymnastics is not a sprint but it's definitely not a marathon either because time is very limited as compared to pretty much all other sports.
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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I definitely have a love/hate relationship with it. :D Mostly love, but there are some days where I could just throw it all out the window. UNTIL I see my DD out there doing her thing, so happy and proud of herself, then I am back in love.
 
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ValleyGymMom

Guest
Well, thank you for your honesty. I think you said what alot of us think from time to time. Our girls have a very special gift when you really think about it. Anyone could learn to play ball, but it takes a very unique and gifted person to be a gymnast. When you see all that it takes to do this sport, I think it's pretty incredible that these kids stick with it. Not only do they sacrifice any hope of having a life outside of the gym, but they suffer through the pains, strains, breaks, rips, and just the all over discomfort that goes along with being a good gymnast. They know what it takes and they do it anyway. Determination like that is not something that you find in many other sports and it makes me very proud of my daughter and I believe it will help her in the future in becoming a more focused adult.
I think gymnastics is not taken very seriously by the general public. People only see the pretty girls and graceful, entertaining performances. They don't look past that to see what really goes into it, and that is a full committment not only from the gymnasts but from the parents. If I thought for one second that my daughter didn't want to do it anymore, then we wouldn't be doing it. And she knows that. All she has to do is say the word. But when I see the look of satisfaction on her face when she has nailed a new skill, or the sound of joy in her voice when she calls me from gym to tell me, "Mom, I did it!!", well, it makes it all worth it.
I think we all approach that burn out phase once in a while. That's what Chalk Bucket is for! To show that we are not alone!!!!!
 
B

Billy

Guest
Well, I seem to be the anomaly here. I have never regretted my daughter's time in gymnastics. She is incredibly healthy, strong, and confident. She knows how to set goals for herself and how to attain them. She has an amazing work ethic and an inner strength I've never seen in one so young. And she gets it from gymnastics.

She loves what she does, she is proud of what she does and she is proud of herself as a person. She is confident enough to perform in front of dozens of people. She is emotionally strong enough to rebound from a poor performance and put her all into making things better the next time. She has determination and a commitment to excellence because of gymnastics.

How could I ever resent a sport that provides my daughter with so many wonderful traits, talents and positive characteristics? How can I put a price on all she gets from this sport? How could I complain about driving her to and from something that means so much to her and gives her so much in return? I will forever love gymnastics for all that is has meant and continues to mean to my daughter.
 

exgymnastmomx3

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Proud Parent
Jul 17, 2009
140
Do I ever resent gymnastics? I get asked that question often and I have often thought about whether or not I would have gone down this road if I had known then what I know now. I truly do not know what the answer would be. Most of the time, I just truly wonder what our lives would be like if we hadn't gone down this road. I DO resent gymnastics a lot and what it has taken from our family. Yes, there are some positive aspects of it, of course and mine is a more complicated story than most because of my own background in gymnastics (trained at an elite training gym) and have had 3 daughters in the sport for the past 7 years. This sport has cost us a small fortune. Adding the numbers up would make anybody's head spin. In just the past two months between 3 new team leos/warm-ups, meet fees and coaches fees for this upcoming season, USAG fees and membership fees, I have paid over $6,000. That doesn't include the monthly tuition for all 3 or include what the expenses will be for the travel meets and hotels for the upcoming meets. Airfare for meets to Florida, Texas and gas to the driveable meets in Missouri, Iowa, and others that are 6 plus hours away. Money aside, the family sacrifice is huge. We live 45 minutes away from the gym and that means more gas money and time away from my husband of 17 years and my son who doesn't do gymnastics. My girls, who at level 8, 9, and 10 are happy to make the sacrifice are fine with all of it and are very committed to gymnastics. All 3 are all around state champions and have been very successful at regionals and beyond. But with all the success and their love of gymnastics, I'm not sure it will be worth it and that's my honest answer. It's been a long, long road and difficult journey already and we still have a long way to go for all 3 to live out their dreams. Most girls they started with are long gone. Even if all 3 got a scholarship, we would have spent more money than that putting them through the sport in the longrun. Between all of them, I've had one who had 3 stress fractures in her back, 2 of which never healed. She also had a hamstring pull and 2 different sprained ankles. My 12 year old has had 3 different leg injuries- shin splints, a hamstring pull, and a quad pull. All of those injuries required Dr's care with a sports orthopedic and long term physical therapy which required more time and money. We've been at several different gyms over the past seven years and have dealt with unbelievably horrible coaches. Most people newer to this sport wouldn't even believe some of the things that go on in some of these gyms- the more veteran people know the stories of abusive coaching. Trying to find a good balance of positive coaching, but good coaching has been a journey in itself. I've had to go back to work full time to be able to afford the sport AND my husband has to work 2 jobs AND my parents and in-laws have had to contribute to help pay for it all. Would I do it if my kids didn't LOVE the sport? NO! Would I do it if I didn't believe in their talent? NO! Did we try to talk them out of this sport many times in the 7 years to see if they would budge? Yes, but the answer from all 3 was tears. So, for me, this sport is a full time job. Yes, there is joy in it when you watch your child's accomplishments, but as most parents at the upper level's know, there is more struggle and frustration as you go up in levels and success doesn't come as easy as it once did for most kids. It may be easy at the lower levels to not understand how one can't enjoy their child in this sport, but just as there is such a thing as gymnast burn out, I believe that us parents just get burnt out too!
 
C

cathiann

Guest
I'm with you! I have never regretted signing my girls up for gymnastics. They put alot of time into it, but they have grown so much and gained so much from the sport. yes, we spend a TON of money each year on it, but we spend money on all our kids--regardless of the sport. I could never tell my kids they had to stop something they loved --I spent my childhood never getting to try anything because driving me there was too much trouble for my dad or too much money to spend. I vowed that would be something my kids would never hear.
 

Blackie6

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Mar 1, 2007
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THANK YOU! Sometimes I like the opportunity to vent, and while I never regret my DD doing gymnastics and the wonderful benefits, I can't sweep under the rug some of the drama we've been thru. The financial stress in trying to keep her in it, switching gyms on short notice probably gave me an ulcer (LOL) this past Summer, the on going foot/heel problem, the schedule of being in the gym 5 out of 7 days/week and still trying to maintain a somewhat "normal" family life for all of us...there are days where ask myself why??? Somedays I even think to myself where that money would go if she did quit...we would be in such a better place finacially. But, we do anything we can for our kids so we plug along.....
 

hunde2

Active Member
Nov 5, 2007
664
Excellent posts.
I always think they would get recognized more if they were in a different sport. Our local newspaper always has scores from High school teams and even Rec leagues mentioning players names etc.
Gymnastics is rarely mentioned in the media until you get to the very top and it is basically a full time job starting at a young age.
Even though my daughter is a second year Level 9 and if she keeps going the way she is she will be a 10 it is a tough journey that includes tears,frustration,joy,happiness,thrive,commitment etc.
She is still very young and there is no guarantee she will stick with it or don't get injured and get a scholarship.Does she even want to do gymnastics in college?
When I see her struggle and get frustrated in gym,get hurt I really ask myself if it is really worth it.But then I see the determination she has and when ask even in tough times she does not want to quit gym.
 

NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
Somedays I even think to myself where that money would go if she did quit...we would be in such a better place finacially.
Don't worry. You would be spending it on other less "essential" things. I know I would.:rolleyes:

But then I see the determination she has and when ask even in tough times she does not want to quit gym.
Yup, I see that is something else unique about any gymnast who's in it for the long run. The drive, determination and passion. It is in the blood and mindset. For most (if not all), they feel the same way towards many other things in life, including school. Not all athletes can in general achieve the same level of success in academics as a graduating gymnast. To them, gymnastics is not a distraction but a part of their lives.
 
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MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
Do I ever resent gymnastics? I get asked that question often and I have often thought about whether or not I would have gone down this road if I had known then what I know now. I truly do not know what the answer would be. Most of the time, I just truly wonder what our lives would be like if we hadn't gone down this road. I DO resent gymnastics a lot and what it has taken from our family. Yes, there are some positive aspects of it, of course and mine is a more complicated story than most because of my own background in gymnastics (trained at an elite training gym) and have had 3 daughters in the sport for the past 7 years. This sport has cost us a small fortune. Adding the numbers up would make anybody's head spin. In just the past two months between 3 new team leos/warm-ups, meet fees and coaches fees for this upcoming season, USAG fees and membership fees, I have paid over $6,000. That doesn't include the monthly tuition for all 3 or include what the expenses will be for the travel meets and hotels for the upcoming meets. Airfare for meets to Florida, Texas and gas to the driveable meets in Missouri, Iowa, and others that are 6 plus hours away. Money aside, the family sacrifice is huge. We live 45 minutes away from the gym and that means more gas money and time away from my husband of 17 years and my son who doesn't do gymnastics. My girls, who at level 8, 9, and 10 are happy to make the sacrifice are fine with all of it and are very committed to gymnastics. All 3 are all around state champions and have been very successful at regionals and beyond. But with all the success and their love of gymnastics, I'm not sure it will be worth it and that's my honest answer. It's been a long, long road and difficult journey already and we still have a long way to go for all 3 to live out their dreams. Most girls they started with are long gone. Even if all 3 got a scholarship, we would have spent more money than that putting them through the sport in the longrun. Between all of them, I've had one who had 3 stress fractures in her back, 2 of which never healed. She also had a hamstring pull and 2 different sprained ankles. My 12 year old has had 3 different leg injuries- shin splints, a hamstring pull, and a quad pull. All of those injuries required Dr's care with a sports orthopedic and long term physical therapy which required more time and money. We've been at several different gyms over the past seven years and have dealt with unbelievably horrible coaches. Most people newer to this sport wouldn't even believe some of the things that go on in some of these gyms- the more veteran people know the stories of abusive coaching. Trying to find a good balance of positive coaching, but good coaching has been a journey in itself. I've had to go back to work full time to be able to afford the sport AND my husband has to work 2 jobs AND my parents and in-laws have had to contribute to help pay for it all. Would I do it if my kids didn't LOVE the sport? NO! Would I do it if I didn't believe in their talent? NO! Did we try to talk them out of this sport many times in the 7 years to see if they would budge? Yes, but the answer from all 3 was tears. So, for me, this sport is a full time job. Yes, there is joy in it when you watch your child's accomplishments, but as most parents at the upper level's know, there is more struggle and frustration as you go up in levels and success doesn't come as easy as it once did for most kids. It may be easy at the lower levels to not understand how one can't enjoy their child in this sport, but just as there is such a thing as gymnast burn out, I believe that us parents just get burnt out too!
This is a great post exgymnastmomx3!!! You truely speak from experience in more ways than one--from an actual elite gymnast yourself, to raising 3 daughters in gymnastics. With my dd just starting out in gymnastics (this is her 2nd year), I haven't even scratched the surface so to speak of the trials and tribulations of all that gymnastics entails.

With my dd starting out in competitive cheerleading so young at the age of 6, I don't necessarily have regrets of choosing cheerleading, but rather have more regrets of putting her in a situation or environment that was way too stressful for her at the time. I am glad that I had the common sense to step back and take a look at the big picture and realize that she was not happy and that maybe another environment may be better suited for her.

Thus, this leads us to our new journey of gymnastics. Because her coach knew that she came from a stressed environment and didn't have the most positive coach in her very early years, she suggested a more liad-back slower paced gymnastic league that was more geared toward fun, shorter training hours and short-term goal setting. After seeing the competitive cheerleading world and some of the trauma/drama of the higher levels (and even at some of the lower levels), I knew that I didn't want to put her in that type of situation before she was ready. Plus, she has so many back tumbling fear demons to deal with, I know that this will be her biggest obstacle in gymnastics or cheer if she decides she ever wants to go back.

I think regrets are only truely "regrets", when the decision at that time was made hastily or selfishly. No one really knows what will happen in the future. I know I always seem to bring up this book and movie, but it's message seems to transcend many areas of life--quoting the Peaceful Warrior, "All you need to do is to be conscious about your choices and responsible for your actions. Every action has its price and its pleasure. Recognizing both sides, a warrior becomes realistic and responsible for his actions."

With this said, I think if you monitor your child carefully throughout gymnastics or whatever sport or activity that they choose to do, and make conscious decisions based on what you feel is best for your child at that moment in time, then that is all you need to worry about.

Sorry for the long and drawn out post...I hope that I am making some sense!
 
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TnTTaxi

Member
Jan 18, 2009
141
I do have to commend you for putting into words what I am sure most parents go through at some point. I do feel the same way at times, so much time, money, driving, frustration, heartache just to mention a few go into these kids gymnastics. But I do believe that they love it, and that is why we do it.
 
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