"AJ is dancing at two games this year at the jr/sr high school. Want to come?"
No!-says my inside voice. It's not that I don't want to watch my niece dance. The problem is that taking Jaycee to a basketball game would be a new experience for her. As you know, new experiences are mentally difficult for me. Jaycee's went to small upwards basketball games but not really official ones with buzzers, cheering fans, and a band. I can think of 1,000 ways this could go so wrong. Ok, maybe just 100 ways. I'm afraid she'll panic or run or flop down. If my husband is with me, it doesn't seem so scary. But, doing it by myself--everything falls on me.
I know this may seem insane thinking to most people. I do believe my thinking is wrong. I shouldn't be afraid or be so quick to think/expect that things will go wrong. When you have had years of bad experiences, you would be like that too.
The first game AJ danced at offered me a good excuse. It was on a Wed. and I serve every Wed. in the preschool room at church.
The next game--I wasn't doing anything. I was actually so bored from my husband working 7 days a week that I would have agreed to go just about anywhere. I decided to be brave and go. If it went bad, I could just leave.
Jaycee actually did really well. She loved climbing up and down the bleachers, which I couldn't stop her from doing. I looked at her when the first buzzer sounded. She didn't even flinch. After watching the cousins run in and out of a door to go buy soda and popcorn, I had my eye on Jaycee. I can anticipate her moves. Sure enough, she made her way down the steps and out that door. The chase was on! I was ready. I mistakenly said, "Jaycee-no!" during the chase which means "run faster" to her. I caught her at the door. One of us was smiling. One chase wasn't bad. That's a normal outing for us. Watching her eat popcorn off the floor was gross but everyone helped me clear it so she would stop.
Finally, halftime arrived and the much anticipated dance was happening. I stood watching the dance. It was cute and my niece, who is about the same age as Jaycee, did great. Then that negative part of my brain activates: Jaycee will never be in something like this. Jaycee doesn't have good coordination like other kids her age. And on and on... I have to shut that negative part down. It likes to rear it's ugly head up sometimes. There's no reason to be sad at a moment like this. Jaycee is Jaycee and I can't focus on the things she can't do. If there was a halftime show for kids running from their parents or flopping down and turning into dead weight, she'd be the best!!! It would be entertaining too!
Shortly after the dance, Jaycee got to where she was getting too far away from me on the bleachers. I like to be within 10-20 feet so I can nab her if she runs off. She was out of my striking distance and wouldn't come back. It was time to go home. We made it almost 3 quarters of a basketball game. I saw the dance. Tonight was a success. Every time I survive a new experience with little incident, it gives me strength for the next one.