On Tuesday the Princess came home with information about Cross Country and a permission form, since practices are after school and if a child wishes to participate then the school needs to know who will be picking them up.
I confess, I didn't give it more than a cursory glance. In my mind, my Princess is not my athlete. It's not just that she's so very, VERY girly. I know lots of girly-girls who make great athletes. It's not even that she's so incredibly petite (at a recent bus orientation for Kindergartners, she slipped into the line with all those little 4 and 5 year olds and everyone assumed she belonged there--she was the same size as most of them!). It's, well, her build. She's not overweight at all, but she is solid. She's built a little like a barrel. Maybe I've labeled her to myself prematurely, but when I look at her, I just don't see a lot of sports meets in my future.
Sweetpea, by contrast, is all sleekness and length. She looks like she's built for speed and moves like a racehorse eager for a run. I fully expect many the cross country, track, volleyball, etc. meets for her in my future.
I thought I had time.
But the Princess surprised me.
"Sign it! Please sign it! I want to go!"
Really? Really? I asked her if she had read the form. She said she did. I asked if she understood what it was for. She said it was for cross country and she really, really, really wanted to join.
"Do you even know what cross country is?"
"I do! I really want to do it! PLEASE!"
So I signed the permission form. I LIKE being surprised by my kids, and who am I to pigeon-hole them so early?
Yesterday was her first practice. She came home full of light and chatter, stories about how the boys kept running around when they weren't supposed to and how she's the ONLY girl in Grade 3 to have signed up. She came in last when they ran but then she IS the smallest and the youngest, and she's determined not to STAY in last place.
She was so very pleased with herself, and I was so very, very proud of her.
And as we headed into the house she surprised me again though:
"Mama, did you know that cross country has RUNNING?? I didn't!"
She seemed pleasantly surprised, like her mom had been to learn that she wanted to sign up in the first place, so I held the laugh in and told her that I did, indeed, know that cross country has running.
We've both learned lots this week.