Karen’s gymnastics coach called last night to invite her to try out for the national league. Karen will be one of the youngest. Most girls start in elementary school, and Karen is still in kindergarten. The coach said that until now, she hadn’t felt that Karen exhibited the maturity necessary to make a commitment to working out twice a week for 1.5 hours each time. I’m thrilled that not only are Karen’s teachers telling me that she has matured significantly this year, but her coach thinks she’s mature enough to join a team of older girls – and begin competitive gymnastics!

I talked to Karen about what this means for her. She will have even fewer afternoons to visit friends. She understands that she is free to continue her once-a-week gymnastics without committing to a more rigorous training schedule. I don’t want to push her, but I also don’t want to hold her back from something she enjoys and which has been very good for her in terms of channeling her energy and competitiveness. Karen seems to completely understand her options, and said that if her coach wants her to do it, then she wants it too. While I don’t want to be a “stage” mom, I can’t help but think of Nadia Comaneci and Olympic glory.