I don’t know about each of you, but we are in full-fledged Olympic mode in the Ryan home. Between my Canadian roots and Tom being American, we are cheering on the two most awesome teams. Tom was away at my brother’s Bachelor party this weekend so I had a leg up on him and managed to get the kids on the side of Team Canada. (Hey. You snooze, you lose.)
The kids have already picked out their favourite Olympic sports. Caleigh wants to be a figure skater. She sees me tear up at each medal presentation and asked me that if she won a gold medal, would I cry for her too? That only made me tear up even more. She has taken to practicing her double toe loops and triple lutz (basically just twirling and jumping) on the hardwood floors of our living room. Of course, as of right now she just skates on our neighbourhood rink. But I remember doing the exact same thing when I was her age….twirling around and imagining being on Olympic ice, winning a gold medal.
Blake, on the other hand, has announced he will compete in the skeleton. Never mind the fact that up until 3 days ago he didn’t even know what that was. But he showed me his form on our big red sled and I have to admit, he looks good.
Of course, instantly there is competition between the two of them (they ARE my kids, after all). Blake told Caleigh that she would actually have to practice to be a figure skater. Caleigh retorted and told Blake that only the best athletes make it to the Olympics and “you’re not the best.” To which Blake had a perfect response. He stood before her with his arms folded and looked directly in her eyes.
“How do you know I’m no the best? I’ve never tried before. Maybe I’m already the best and no one knows it yet.”
His response stopped me in my tracks. So quickly we can dismiss how great we COULD be even before we’ve tried. How easy is it to dismiss a child’s dream as just “a wild imagination”? Or even more so as adults as we chalk it up to being crazy – believing in our wild dreams and audacious goals. Our society in general feels uncomfortable around greatness and doesn’t want to put faith in those who dream big. Who’s to say Blake isn’t the best? Obviously there is time, practice, training, strength (both mental and physical), and so much more that goes into being the best. But with Blake’s determination and sheer will, I have no doubt that if he put his mind to it, he could go to the Olympics for the skeleton. Or downhill skiing. Or speed skating. Or whatever he wanted.
There is a reason that I repeat our children’s bedtime routine every single night. Because of a few choice phrases that resonate with my kids throughout their day.
“When you grow up, you can be anything you want to be.
And you can do anything you want to do.
Whatever you do, do it well.
Never give up.
And always remember how much your family loves you.”
Blake, specifically, has taken to this routine more than Caleigh. He has referenced them so many times since we’ve started reciting them each night. Like the time I asked Caleigh to help him clean up the basement. When I asked Blake about his Olympic goal, he recited everything we say each night in bed. I would say it’s made an impact on him, don’t you think?