Starting gymnastics: Paige

After the events surrounding Isaac's start to gymnastics, Hillary made it clear that getting Paige going was my going to be my task.

Paige was not the outgoing kid that Isaac was at this age and there was a very real concern that this could turn into a festival of screaming for weeks on end. But, that said, Paige knew that Isaac did it and had been talking about starting gymnastics for months at this point.

So we got there for her 5:30 start time. Hillary accompanied us to watch how it went. My basic tactic was going to be the same as with Isaac. Sit out with Paige during the warm up, then attempt to get her through one or two loops of the first activity. At that point, I was pretty sure we'd be in the clear.

For the little kids, the evening starts with lining up to get into the gym. One of the coaches takes everyone's name, then the shoes and socks come off before heading over to the big mat for the warmup.

Paige of course, when asked her name looked at my leg and didn't respond. I gave it.

We got her gear off and I walked her over to the mat. She watched, but pretty clearly wanted nothing to do with it. I kept encouraging her to just sit on the corner of the mat and do some of the stretches. She eventually did.

When the groups were split out, her group first went to the balance beams. I did what I had done with Isaac. I walked her through the beams, then sat back a bit and watched her go through a second and third time. She stuck with her group and did all the activities that night.

At 5:35 the next week I sent a message to Hillary, "And she is away and running around."


It wouldn't be a lie to say that one of my primary goals for Hillary's time with cancer was to minimize her worries about the kids. If there was a successful conclusion to this campaign, it was this particular event.

Hillary said a few things to me later that evening about how great she thought I was with the kids. How happy she was that they had me. How good she thought I'd do with them. I responded in my usual self-deprecating way. But I thanked her. She knew what I had been trying to do over the last year.


Paige is five months into gymnastics now, she still doesn't give her name to the person at the door.