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A Mama Bear and her Cub ...

Brittany flips all the time.

Over every piece of furniture we have, on the trampoline … and since she was about 3 years old she has literally, LITERALLY been climbing the walls.

When she was three, her gymnastics teacher at her preschool told me after class one day that he thought Brittany needed more than what he could offer her.  He said she was a natural.

So we found a new gym for her.  It was a great gym but it was competitive in “show team” gymnastics.  I always assumed she’d go the “show team” route.  Because that was the natural path at that gym.

And when she achieved the level to try out for the team she said … “no thank you”.  She wanted to compete … individually.

I was shocked and knew what she wanted to do would change a lot of things about our family.  But she was determined and she had a dream and she wanted to pursue it.

Trust me, we have never pushed her on this.  She pushes herself, plenty.

So, 14 months ago we went in search of a new gym.  A competition gym.  We tried two gyms for a week each and let Brittany make the call as to where she felt the most comfortable.  Fortunately for us she picked the one almost right by our house.

They work her hard.  REALLY hard.  She practices day after day, hour after hour.

The first year they were required to go three days a week but she opted for the “extra” 4 hours of training on Saturdays as well.

This year she went to four days a week and has never complained.

Until Wednesday.  She told me she didn’t feel like going which was weird.  Later that evening she asked if I could take her to the doctor the next day.

I was kind of sad she had to ask me to take her … I mean, shouldn’t I recognize that she needed to go?!?  But she suffers from seasonal allergies and I just thought they had gotten the best of her.

Until her doctor diagnosed her with walking pneumonia.

And here’s the deal … she had two more days in the gym before her final district gymnastics meet which, if she did well, would qualify her for South State.

And those two days in the gym were required … if you miss one day on a meet week you are automatically scratched from the meet, gym rules.

I told the doctor she had gymnastics and he said … “no she doesn’t”.

I told him she had a big meet (as in HUGE) and if she didn’t compete she had to wait another entire year before she could compete again for state.

He thought about it and looked straight at Brittany and said …“you are not going to be 100% on Saturday.  You rest the next two days … NO gym … start a Z pack and let your lungs heal and if you feel you can compete on Saturday, then you have my blessing.”

After a quick lunch, we drove straight to the gym to tell the owners of the gym.  Turns out they were gone for the day.  We called and left a voice mail for her coach and waited to see what they would say.

About two hours later we got the news:  “Due to your illness we feel it is in your best interest to scratch you from Saturday’s meet”.

And with that they ripped her dream right out from under her.

She handled it better than I think I ever would have … in fact, better than I did.  Bill said he had never seen me like that.  The only way I know to describe it is that my “cub” had a beautiful fish she was about to eat.  I had taken the cub fishing for years, I had watched the cub learn to fish and just as she was about to take a bite, someone snatched the fish out of her hands.

And mama bears don’t take kindly to that kind of thing happening to their baby cubs.

Thankfully Papa Bear handles situations like this much better than I do.

Bill called the coach and agreed that Brittany’s health was everyone’s greatest concern.  None of us wanted to put her in jeopardy at all … being on the bars or beam in full health is scary enough.  But after some “discussion” they agreed not to scratch Brittany.  The plan was to let her rest Thursday and Friday and let her warm up on Saturday.  If the coaches (or Bill) didn’t think she looked good then she would be pulled.  There would be next year.

And Brittany rested.  And did routines in her head.  And took her Z pack.

And Saturday morning Brittany held on to the beam, stuck her landings, rocked some routines and posted her very best scores OF THE ENTIRE SEASON.

And Brittany made it to South State.

One of her coaches on Saturday jokingly said she should get sick more often.  Tonight when she went to the gym some of the other coaches who weren’t there told her she shocked them all.  When I asked the lady at the front desk (who had heard Brittany’s hacking cough on Thursday when we went by the gym) if she heard she got to compete nodded and said … “and I heard it was the best she’s ever done.”

Yes, my cub ate her fish.

And it was delicious.