To the parents at my daughter’s gymnastics class: Why are you there?

To the parents at my daughter’s gymnastics class:

Why are you there?

Our kids are three. Three! That means we have graduated from parent and tot gymnastics to drop off gymnastics. Drop off gymnastics class, a.k.a. you are expected to drop off your kid and go until class ends.

Why are you staying? Be free. This isn’t the Olympics. You don’t need to watch every move.

Aly Raisman's parents

You may be frustrated that there aren’t enough chairs for all of you to sit down. That’s by design. They aren’t set up for an audience. You are supposed to drop your kid off and go.

Sure, 45 minutes isn’t a long time. Maybe you don’t want to worry about finding another parking spot. That’s fair. So walk. It’s a beautiful day. Stop by the drugstore or the library. Get some coffee. Take a stroll along the lake. Soon it will be farmer’s market season, and there will be one a couple of blocks away concurrent to class time. Go.

Some of you have other kids with you. Take them to the playground around the corner. Most of you with babies have left them in strollers anyway, so take them for a walk. Go.

I say this not just for you but also for your child in the gymnastics class.

For the several week break between our final session of parent and tot gymnastics and our first week of drop off classes, my daughter asked daily, “I go to big girl ‘nastics now?” We had talked about how “big girl ‘nastics” was super special, and she was excited.

I told her she is a big girl now, and she doesn’t need mommy there when she does gymnastics. She can do this herself. Drop off gymnastics class is her first taste of independence. It’s preparing her for when she goes to preschool in the fall.

Did my daughter cry when she looked over during gymnastics class and did not see me? Did she misbehave and the teachers wished I was there to intervene? I don’t know. I guess you can tell me.

When I returned and caught the final few minutes of class my girl seemed to be doing just fine. The smile she gave when she spotted me as she waited for her end of class stamp and the hug she gave me when she was done told me that she was not traumatized by my brief abandonment of her. She loves big girl ‘nastics.

Perhaps I am not being fair. After all, I wasn’t there. Perhaps all of you other parents left shortly after I did and just happened to return before I did giving the illusion that you stayed the whole time. I hope that is the case.

If you can’t manage to miss a moment of toddler gymnastics how will you survive pre-school or kindergarten or college? I say how will you survive because I know the kids can manage just fine.

See you next week, although hopefully only briefly.

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