I’m fortunate to have a job with flexibility to bring my daughter with me to practice when those last-minute conflicts pop up. I don’t make a habit of this, mind you, and she never stays for the whole practice; but there have been a couple of moments this past season where I had to throw Nora in the back seat with the med kit and bring her with me until Dad or Auntie could take the next shift.
On one such occasion, the cheer squad was attending a swim meet at the high school, in an effort to support more of the school’s athletes beyond the football players. Despite being in the school for hours on end for my own practices and games, I had never actually set foot in the pool area. In fact, I had never been to a swimming event anywhere, ever, so this would be not just a first for Nora but for me as well.
And yet, I found myself watching my daughter experience the meet more than I was paying attention to the swimmers. Have you ever just watched your child’s face as they experience something for the first time? She was fascinated. Her enthusiasm was addicting. She squealed when the other spectators cheered, pressed her nose up against the glass of the balcony to get a closer look at the figures moving in the water below, and would jump up and down in excitement. My cheerleaders could have learned a thing or two from her display of support!
It was one of the first times I’d seen Nora engage in what was going on around her, rather than exploring solo or playing on her own while other activity happened simultaneously. She knew we were there to watch the swimmers, rather than simply run around and explore under the bleachers.
It’s easy to take note of those big milestones in our children’s lives; the first steps, first smiles, first words. But experiencing the everyday through a child’s eyes is a treasure too – one worth taking a closer look.