“You know mommy why you are my favorite member of our family?
-Because you are so active!”:-)
That’s how my daughter commented on my effort during mu daily workout today. Natalka was born with Williams Syndrome. One of the characteristic features of this syndrome of congenital ‘defects’ is unusual emotional sensitivity and honesty in expressing opinions, which are often very direct. Another feature of people with WS is their willingness to please others. That’s why when Natalka says such things to me, I know that she says what she really means, or if she doesn’t speak honestly – she wants to please me in a heartfelt compliment at all costs. Anyway, this (her words) is the best acknowledgement that I’m doing the right thing dedicating these tens of minutes to my training every day! I wouldn’t ask for a better reward!.
I once saw a photo of a young woman working out at home in a “plank” position, and she’s secretly being observed by a little girl, most probably her daughter. The picture is signed like this: “I was going to give up when I noticed who was watching…” It’s one of my favorite pictures, I still have it on my mind. We tend to say we exercise for ourselves, for health, for staying in good shape. But, damn, no! – all this fuss about sport, healthy eating, sweat on my back – it’s all to give a good example. Not to the world, but to my children – I want to be a role model for them.
My daughter will have to overcome many obstacles in her life. And I know that each time it will be much harder for her than for her peers. And I don’t have enough knowledge and no experience to properly prepare her for these challenges. I can only teach her self-confidence, conviction about her own uniqueness, ways of finding strength, the ability to overcome adversities. I can also teach her self-love and hope that all this will prevent her from breaking down of cruel judgments of others, nagging of her colleagues at school, or ignorance.
How will I do it? By showing good example. I will teach my daughter how to overcome difficulties by showing her my own struggle with exhaustion and my pride at the end of my physical exercise. Of course, training is not only literal but also symbolic. It is a great analogy of crossing with life: seemingly difficult and unfair (“why can’t I just do classic crunches all the time?!”), but also from the beginning to the end (with the right attitude) nursing, giving sense, raising circulation , giving happiness!
In addition, my workouts are small challenge compared to challenges of her every day. My success in the form of a smaller size of clothes or a firmer body is nothing compared to her results (still good!) at school that she achieves despite her inborn dysfunctions! I know that each year her education will be more and more difficult. But I also know that she will do well if she learns to be systematic and persistent, and if she believes in herself.
That’s why when I think of giving up training I remember who’s looking at me! And now, writing these words, I analyze the first 11 years of my daughter’s life, her attempts to be “normal”, attempts to be noticed, attempts to meet our expectations (unconscious and unintentional, but often overambitious), requirements of her teachers and peers, and I wonder…. who’s actually looking at me? A student… or a coach? 🙂