M-E-L-A-N-I-E!!! Who have we for company?
It’s MELANIE! Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o Melanie!
(Please welcome Melanie Dale to the blog today. Better than that: cheer for her, because this is fantastic)
I am the world’s worst soccer mom. I hate grass. I hate sports. I hate being outside and sweating. I stand on the sidelines griping about mosquitos and armpits while the other parents cheer supportively.
I know. I sound super fun. I think when God made me he had in mind more of an indoor, bookish sort who could read about other people experiencing the outdoors from the comfort of a nice sofa.
After years of schlepping folding chairs to fields and trying to make small talk with other moms on the sidelines while my kids attempted to remember which goal was theirs, I finally got to give it a rest. First one, then another child tried and quit soccer and my third and final child decided against giving it a go. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was finished.
And then something happened that made me long for the days of soccer. My youngest, a wee kindergartner, has decided she desperately needs to try cheerleading.
There’s something about parenting that makes us confront our deepest, darkest fears, and I have the fear of athletics AND ginormous girly bows and here is a sport that combines both. We are now facing a childhood filled with grosgrain ribbon and herkies and pyramids.
As I filled out the online form, I felt my insides shrivel. This sport comes with more enthusiasm than any other. Cheerleading is the choice of perky people who love their teams and feel things like loyalty and school spirit and such.
Clearly I am doomed. I’m not even sure I’m capable of woohooing unsarcastically, although I’ll do anything to try to support my daughter. (Though I’m secretly nursing some healthy vengeance against her for putting me through this. How. Dare. She.)
Cheerleaders: R-O-W-D-I-E THAT’S THE WAY WE SPELL ROWDY, ROWDY, LET’S GET ROWDY WOO-WOO-WOO!
Me: But it’s not. That’s not how you spell it. Do they not know? DO THEY NOT KNOW?!?
I had it on good authority that I was going to raise nerds. My husband was the president of the chess club at his little private school where I picture them all in matching argyle and knee pants. (This is probably not true but let me have my fantasy. The chess part was real and he is so hot to me in my mind. Take my pawn again, Nerd King. You’re the man.)
I had glasses, braces, zits, and a varsity letter in showchoir. So, you know, the nerd thing for my kids seemed like a reasonable assumption. I was hoping to throw in some kind of woodwind instrument and a band uniform involving a ruffled dickie to seal the deal, but no. Now I’m looking at pom poms and spankies. (My husband just informed me that cheering seems awfully similar to showchoir and jazz hands. Now I’m questioning everything and need chocolate and a fuzzy blanket and some tap shoes.)
My child is going to be a cheerleader. faints, stands back up, watches Bring It On, faints again
Just as the shaking in my hands from signing her up ebbed a bit, I got an email in my inbox about…football. That’s dumb. Nobody here does that thing. Football? Please. I’ve spent 38 years trying lackadaisically to understand that game and I never will. I watch the Superbowl for Beyonce and Beyonce alone. Why was I getting an email welcoming my child to the world of football OH MY GOSH CHEERLEADERS CHEER FOR FOOTBALL GAMES HOT DAMN.
Cheering doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The girls are cheering FOR something. For boys. I will be spending every Saturday on a football field watching my daughter shake her booty for a bunch of padded up peewee players.
I’m wondering if she’ll forgive me for screaming random epithets about THE PATRIARCHY!
Me: GIRLS! YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHEER FOR BOYS! CHEER FOR YOURSELVES! WHO’S CHEERING FOR YOU, GIRLS!?!
My daughter: I don’t know that crazy woman over there whipping her bra through the air. Weird.
This is what’s going through my head as I prepare for cheer season, I mean football season. I didn’t even watch Friday Night Lights or Varsity Blues. (I thought Friday Night Lights was about theatre openings and marquees. True story.)
I’m completely intimidated because this is not my lane.
But. It’s my daughter’s lane, and even though I can’t be in the lane, I’m going to be at the end of the lane cheering wildly for my little cheerleader. Melanie Dale, Cheer Mom.
If you are a cheer mom or a cheerleader, forgive me. It’s not you it’s me. I will adjust and be as awesome as possible. I will bring snacks and learn to tie bows and be the sports bra of supportiveness. Don’t give up on me. Please be my friend.
This is what we do as moms, isn’t it? We support our kids and consequently end up thrown into new situations with other moms who intimidate the heck out of us as we act like we know what we’re doing. So let me be the first to say, “Hi. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m intimidated and a total dork and scared of blowing it with all of you.”
This is the First Base of mom dating. We didn’t choose to be together, but our kids are in this activity and we’re here so we might as well get to know each other. Wanna know about the other bases and what I’ve learned about momlationships? I wrote it all down for you in a book, Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends, and Bronwyn’s giving away a copy! Enter below! Woo-hoo! (I’m practicing my cheering yay!)
Melanie Dale is a minivan mama and total weirdo who stinks at small talk. Her laugh is a combination honk-snort, and it’s so bad that people have moved away from her in the movie theater. She adores sci-fi and superheroes and is terrified of Pinterest. Author of Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends and It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose (August 2016), she’s also a contributor for Coffee+Crumbs and an advocate for Children’s HopeChest. She’s been featured on Parenting.com, Scary Mommy, Working Mother Magazine, Deadspin’s Adequate Man, and Today’s Christian Woman. Living in the Atlanta area, she blogs at Unexpected.org about motherhood, orphan care, infertility, and sometimes poo. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@unexpectedmel)
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Image Credit: Cheerleader/ThaQeLa (Flickr Creative Commons), edited using Canva by moi.