My son is in gymnastics. I take him to class every Thursday night. We have a routine of hitting the gym and then getting frozen yogurt together. It's our special time together and we both look forward to it. I love watching his amazing little body perform feats of flexibility and strength. I am jealous of that young skinny body. His natural fitness inspires me to workout hard, grow stronger and more flexible. He reminds me of the days when I was a gymnast and how much I loved it. I didn't think about how hard I was working out, whether I was tired or sore. I just did it, because it gave me so much pleasure...so much joy.
One week he had to miss class and he was devastated. He was crying. It broke my heart. That was when I realized what the class meant to him. The happiness he gets from jumping around on those blue mats and swinging from the parallel bars is infectious. He smiles throughout the workout despite the fact that most of his attempts end in falling to the mat. Gymnastics is teaching him how to try and try again, no matter what.
I am realizing things about the sport that I learned early in life, but lost with age. Being there weekly and watching him and the other kids practicing has reignited my love of being fit and strong. His practice sets a great example of how to love something without reservation...how to enjoy something you love without worry or care...how to put your whole mind and body into practicing something....how to ignore failure and try again. That is joy. That is peace. That is happiness. That is the secret to life.