DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My granddaughter has been doing gymnastics since she was five years old. Since early middle school she has been focusing on power tumbling, and has gotten good enough to compete at both the state and regional levels.
I’m thrilled that she does so well and is so talented and dedicated, but honest to God, I cannot stand going to the competitions. I don’t mind that they go on for so long, but I am a basket case every time my granddaughter does one of her routines. Over the years I’ve seen some of these girls get seriously hurt. Thankfully so far all my granddaughter and her teammates have suffered are minor injuries, but I guess I am the superstitious kind. I believe if you push your luck long and hard enough, something bad will happen.
I have told my son and daughter-in-law I just can’t do it any longer. They were not happy about it, but kind of understand. However, they won’t tell my granddaughter why I don’t want to go to any more of her competitions. They think my fear could be transferred to her and then she will get hurt.
How do I tell my granddaughter how I feel without planting fear? --- CAN’T WATCH THE TUMBLES
DEAR CAN’T WATCH THE TUMBLES: I’m guessing your granddaughter and her teammates are well aware of the dangers of their demanding sport. I also can see where her parents’ concerns regarding your sharing of your fears are coming from, and wouldn’t be surprised if they feel much the same as you do. However, they have less of a choice in the matter of attending the competitions.
Perhaps you could let your granddaughter know you aren’t available on the day of the next competition, but that you’re going to ask her parents to video her routine so you don’t miss out on it entirely. Her reaction might give you a hint as to whether or not your being there in person makes much of a difference to her. She may count on you as a key part of her cheering section, or it’s possible you learn she’s more than okay with your making it up to her by watching it from the comfort of your own home or hers.
Once you get a reading on her reaction, you’ll have something to go on in making a decision about attending future competitions in-person or not.