If you notice that our trunk is filled with camping chairs, you might understand. We’ve just survived our first season of school sports. My twins just played their first seasons of football and ran on their school’s cross country team. It was chaotic. And exhausting. And my three-year-old started calling our minivan “home.”
But there was one thing that happened that I wasn’t expecting.
I guess I need to back up and say that even though I am incredibly busy with a myriad of personal and professional pursuits, my children have always been my top priority. They are in my thoughts all day, every day. I am constantly cheering for them and rooting for them. I worry when they come home with scrapes, coughs, or missing jackets. I hurt when they hurt. When they are happy, I celebrate. When they struggle, I struggle to find the sweet spot where I’m helping without hindering growth.
Yet my kids never hear the inner-workings of my brain. They don’t hear my personal prayers, my long talks with close friends, parent-teacher conferences, or even read my Instagram posts. Yes, they hear me say “I love you,” and “Have a great day at school.” I am there each morning to take them to school and I am there every afternoon to pick them up. But I don’t think my efforts were fully translating. I wasn’t shouting out encouraging phrases at carpool dropoff in the morning or holding up signs when I came to pick them up.
So this year, when the first cross country meet of the season had me shouting across a field, encouraging my boys to do their very best for two full miles, something happened. It was powerful. All of those hopes and wishes I have for their everyday successes poured out of me. I may have even pushed back tears. OK— I definitely did.
It made me stop and realize that though I am cheering for my kids every second of every day, they don’t often hear it. I want to change that. What’s the point of being someone’s biggest fan if they never know, right?
Since that fateful cross country meet, I have tried to be more intentional in letting them know I am cheering for them every day. I seek small moments to point out how amazing they are and to let them know that I am their biggest fan. Just like I find myself shouting phrases like “keep going!” or “you got this!” or “finish strong!” on the field, I want to keep encouraging them through the day-to-day stuff, too.
Because to me, that’s what this whole mothering gig is all about. They are growing up. Fast. I can’t carry them and baby them forever. But I can teach them and cheer for them and support them on their journey to adulthood. And that’s exactly what I intend to do.
What do you do to let your kids know you are cheering for them on the daily?