I was not a cheerleader as a girl. I was the one stalking the sidelines of whatever the event, scribbling frantically in a spiral notebook and nudging photographers in the direction of the pics I needed, glad that the attention was on the stars.
I was a yearbook and newspaper kid. Also student council. Not nearly as cool as a star, perhaps, but much more me.
This week, 40-some years later, I became a cheerleader. A cheerleader stalking the edges of a community pool, clutching my cell phone camera, and joining in on cheers echoing from my own school days.
I cheered for my girls, of course. And their swim team members. I also cheered for the visiting team. And I cheered especially hard for the ones who finished last and still rejoiced in cutting seconds off their previous times or trying really hard.
I cheered for all the good sports and for the shy kids brave enough to leap in and give their all, whatever the process at hand.
And I cheered for the young man with the neon yellow tutu, a vibrant image of all-in, though I have no idea whether he won his races or not.
I cheered for paintings of Cosmic Cat and Daisy Dog and for baking and a fabulous first guacamole lesson.
It was a week of good reminders for me that we can all do some cheerleading in our lives, even if we’re not the pleated mini-skirt or yellow tutu kinds of folks.
Sometimes cheerleading involves jumping around, yelling, and clapping our hands sore.
Sometimes it involves a quiet Way to hang in there! and the awareness that we all need to feel seen and heard and significant.
Sometimes it involves a bigger-than-usual tip for the kind guy with the wheelchair who got me safely through the maze of trains and elevators and ramps at Dulles Airport, while beaming about his son in college and the one in med school.
Here are a few more glimpses from our week. May you find chances for cheerleading in the weeks ahead, wherever you discover yourself!