Yesterday in the car on the way to a friend’s house, I asked Big some more about the swimming gala. To be precise, I asked if she could hear ppl shouting for her when she was in the water. The gist of her answer was no – she was aware that there were some members of her team at the end of her lane waving her on, but she didn’t hear the shouts from the audience. She didn’t hear me. She didn’t know that through my tears (no, I don’t know why I was crying, it’s just something I do when I can’t control emotions any further) I was cheering her on, shouting her name, willing her to find that extra strength, that extra turn of speed, that extra centimetre of reach.
And it occurred to me that this is my place in her life. I am destined to be that unheard cheerleader, stuck in my place on the sidelines, making all the right noises at all the right times, but almost completely soundlessly as far as she is concerned.
She’d probably notice if I wasn’t there. She said it was great knowing that L and I were sat there, just for her. And she stopped on her way back to her seat with the team after her race, and asked why I was crying, so she knew that I’d been like that. “You don’t have to cry” she said, and L said “yes, she does.” Wisdom beyond her years that one.
I didn’t know this was part of the job description when I had children. I wonder if any of us would launch into it if we really knew what it entailed. How complex, terrifying, wonderful, liberating, frustrating, constricting, exhausting and exhilirating our lives become once a child is born.
And most of all, I wonder where my cheerleading role will take me. And whether I’ll ever be heard.