Pom Poms & Pigtails


My baby is nine. She’s daisies, rainbows, and unicorns. If I’d let her dress like Elsa every day, she would. I love that she wants to be a rock star one day and a fashion designer the next. She inherited a double dose of stubbornness combined with a Pollyanna smile.

I pushed her to play softball because of my endless summer memories of dirt and laughter. She’s learning who she is and what she likes, and she’s set her eyes on the dance team and cheerleading squads. Both my sisters were cheerleaders. Although I opted for the stage during high school, I like to think I experienced the ups and downs of the pompoms, too, through them.

After a rough week of stomach flu and bronchitis, the kids trekked to school today and returned with backpacks full of jumbled papers. In my daughter’s was a form the dance team. This is a program for kids who will be in the 3rd-6th grade.

What disturbs me about the programs under the Jacksonville Youth Football Association is how seriously they take themselves. It’s highlighted how my child is committing, how they hurt the team by missing practices, the mandatory camp, etc. Every missed or late practice costs the child. Failing to wear the uniform properly does, too. I’m all for teamsmanship, but these are little kids.

As her mom, I’m battling parents who did not outgrow their high school years. These are the washed up high school football players and cheerleading captains. They approach these sports with a seriousness worthy of Lifetime show, and that’s no compliment.

I’m not ready to tell her that she has to cheer, she has to go to JSU, become at teacher or a nurse, attend FBC, and make her daughter cheer. I want her to live, experience, and grow. If that means being a cheerleader, so be it. But if it means experiencing other things too, all the better.

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Emily is the person to blame behind Surviving Alabama. She is a nerd, a mother, and sometimes pretends to be a writer (although there was that one legit writing job for a few years...). When she isn't writing, repairing computers, or designing websites, Emily is happily raising three children with her very understanding husband.