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Cheer Dads

Our cheer dad is not at Cheersport Nationals this weekend. This is no reflection on how awesome a cheer dad he is to my girls.

Our cheer dad…

We would not be here this weekend without his hard work to help pay for it. We would not be enjoying our time without all The Time he spent booking everything from flights to our hotel. We would not be here except for his love and dedication to his girls.

He knows the scoring system. He is the best videographer. He packs cars and suitcases like a boss. He won’t touch the hair or makeup, but I don’t either. Our oldest cheerleader mastered it on her own. He talks us down, even miles away, from slamming hotel doors, a result of our early morning nervous drama. He is the truth and the hugs after a rough performance.

Cheer dads are every bit as important as cheer moms. And oh, how we miss ours this weekend.

Go Big or Go Home

I was driving my son home from his Beauty and the Beast rehearsal when his friend called him for advice. I could tell by the look in Zavier’s eyes that he felt ill-qualified to give the requested advice, so his friend was now on speaker phone, interrupting my classical music jam on NPR. Yes, I’m now old enough to make the rock sign for a well-played movement. Now back to the young man in need now on speaker phone.

Zavier’s friend needed advice on how to approach his crush. I listened as the boys were plotting an elaborate if “this person tells that person, then they will tell that person who might know so and so” and on and on, until after 50 degrees of separation, the young lady would know she is being crushed on hard. Dear God.

“Boys, boys, boys…stop,” I said. “If you want the girl, you have to go big or go home.”

My son gave me the look he gives me before he says “Okay, Boomer,” but he knew better than to say that today (a story for another day).

I continued, “Life is too short to send a message through 50 other people. Go up to the girl, tell her she looks fine, and ask for her digits, with a please at the end, of course.”

Silence greeted me, followed with a nervous giggle from the other side of the phone. I explained that “going big or going home” was about not being afraid of what might happen if you did what you felt in your heart. I wished I had learned this earlier in life. I was so awkward and geeky that I let myself stay on the sidelines behind the bench, behind the bleachers, and at least 20 safe feet away from the playing field.

“Put your big boy pants on and tell this girl you like her.”

Zavier’s friend asked, “What if she doesn’t like me?”

I answered, “Then nothing is any different than it is right now. Go big or go home.”

The boys repeated the phrase after me like love disciples.

I shared the advice I gave the boys with my husband later that night. He laughed and told me it was the wrong advice, with my son quipping that he thought that it didn’t sound right. Zavier then inquired how I fell for his dad.

“He walked up to me and asked if I wanted to watch Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Right then, I knew it was forever. It was your dad’s go big or go home moment, and I went home with him.”

“Wow, that’s all?” laughed Zavier.

That’s all. It was my guy’s moment. What if I had never watched The Wall six times prior, analyzing every minute, longing for a significant other to stay up all night with having deep conversations about the film? Yet, I did. And, we did.

Go big or go home. You have nothing to lose other than the potential that it truly was your moment, your love, or your time to win.


A win does not always involve a jacket or trophy. A win does not mean you are the best. A win without heart and humility is not really a win. A win where others get hurt is actually a loss in disguise. A win you think you carried for the team makes you selfish. A win can simply be doing better than you did last tine.

We push our kids to win. Do we push them to win well?

One of my daughters took home a jacket and a medal this weekend after coming back to right a second place finish last year. The other fought a battle to take 10th after a joyfully delivered routine hit zero on the mat.

They are both winners.

The Cheer Hair Rap

A little rap (radio edit version) I wrote for my daughter as she got competition ready:

Who’s that babe with the jacked up hair?

She’s a cheerleader.

It took a can of hairspray to get it there.

She’s a cheerleader.

She walks by the judges and they say ‘sup?

She’s a cheerleader.

Even a hurricane couldn’t mess it up.

She’s a cheerleader .

‘Twas the Night Before Super Nationals

It ’twas the night before Super Nationals when all through the house,

The uniforms were getting packed for a chance to compete before Mickey Mouse.

The cheer shoes were now sneaker balled with care, in hopes that the car wouldn’t stink before we arrived there.

The cheerleaders were flipping around on their beds, while visions of hit zeros danced in their heads.

And Cheer Mama in her sparkles, and I in my gym branded cap, gave up long ago our hopes for a nap.

Because cheerleaders by nature are always making a clatter, so telling them to be quiet really does not matter.

Away to the car I flew like a flash, tore open the door, and tried to pack up the cheer stash.

The moon shone brightly on our bazillion cheer sparkles below, making my eyes start to tear, so blinding I thought our dog was a bear.

Then my athletes yelled out the door, so lively and quick, “Dad, don’t forget our spirit stick!”

More rapid than eagles, the cheer luggage came, I whistled and shouted and called off the items by name: “Now uniforms! Now cheer shoes! Now, bows and eyeliner! Come on, lipstick! And medical tape! And, backpacks and lucky stuffed items! To the back and the sides and the front of the car! To the top now in a roof rack! To the top of my lap! Now pack it up! Pack it in! Let’s prepare to dash away all!”

Like the bases before the wild flyer must fly, so they don’t get a deduction, I lifted the glitter and gear and it flew, like a sleigh full of toys from St. Nicholas if he was on my packing crew.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard the prancing and chattering of my wife.

As I took a deep breath and was turning around, she came at me with a bound.

She was dressed all in cheer mom gear, from head to foot, and her clothes were all glue gunned with sparkles black like soot. A bundle of healthy snacks she had flung on her back, and she looked like a peddler just opening her cheer survival pack.

Her eyes–how they twinkled! Her dimples, how merry! Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry! I realized then that I was married to a cheer fairy.

She then started to frown, like a right angry elf, for I had forgotten those darn snacks, in spite of myself.

A wink of her eye and a twist of her head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. She spoke not a word, but went straight to work, and filled the car with those snacks, then turned with a jerk.

With a proud sniffle from her nose, she gave a nod, and into the house and up the stairs she rose.

She shouted out a loud “Hey”, and to our cheerleaders gave a whistle, and away they all flew into bed like the down of a thistle.

But I heard her exclaim, after she stomped out of sight, “Let’s win a paid bid in Indy, and to all a good night!”


On Being a Cheer Mom

As I get ready to travel with my daughters to a national cheer competition this weekend, having binged Cheer on Netflix this past weekend while packing the glitter cannon, the reality of who I have become is clear. I can say loud, and a little [a lot] bit proud: I AM A CHEER MOM.

Don’t mix me up with a dance mom, a soccer mom, or a gymnastics mom. Those moms have their own club to which I do not have access. We cheer moms have unique characteristics that make us easily identifiable in a lineup…I meant crowd.

So how do you know a cheer mom? Let me give the basic call signs of our Sparkle Tribe:

  • We talk about cheer even to people who simply don’t give a poop. I hope this has changed now because you all are going nuts over Cheer on Netflix. Listen to us. This shite is glittery gold. There are athletes like Jerry and Gabi and Lexi and Morgan galore in this sport.
  • We do everything like it is timed to an 8-count track. Washing a dish? 8-counts. Putting a child to bed? Five 8-counts. Running a meeting at work? Endless 8-counts. You talking to us? Better make it cheer good if you want a decent number of 8-counts assigned to the conversation.
  • We live in our car. To make it to all practices, open gyms, tumbling clinics, team bonding sessions, camps, and competitions, we are in our cars endlessly. In fact, we sold our houses and live in our cars to pay for cheer. Just kidding on the selling of houses…
  • We have glitter everywhere. There is glitter in our homes, our cars, our hair, our nose, and probably in our bits. It comes from uniforms, bows, cheer bags, bottles of glitter we glue gun to stuff, and from the blood and sweat of our athletes.
  • We belong, willing or not, to a cheer family. It is loud. It is crazy. It is a loud and crazy dysfunctional family that can simultaneously make you feel extreme love and irritation. We talk about each other. We hug it out. We get mad at each other. We hug it out. We win. We hug it out. We lose. We hug it out. WE STICK TOGETHER.
  • We use semi-trucks to take our Glitter & Gear (G&G) between competitions and practices (in our dreams at least). We then carry the G&G around massive competition facilities, to and from hotels, and to and from modes of transportations like we are Beyonce’s entourage. Even when our athletes go all diva on us, we still carry their G&G because they are nervous, sore, and tired. Also, we spent a million dollars on that G&G. No G&G gets left behind.
  • We are as fierce as our athletes. You don’t mess with either. Don’t let the sparkle and bows fool you.
  • We are participating in a sport. Our sons and daughters are athletes. We are their support system. We will clarify this a bazillion times until you repeat the same. And we study the stats and other teams like there are Las Vegas odds on this.

So, do you get it? Nope, neither do I some days. My girls chose this life for me and our family. Even their reluctant teenage brother will schlep their stuff and put on Wildcats gear. He will stand by the stage and scream for his sisters and their teams, having seen this season’s competition routines one thousand times, yet he still pretends it is all new and amazing.

This makes us all sound crazy, especially me as the mom who lets this be a reality for her family. Again, my girls chose this. I then chose to support them financially, emotionally, and spiritually. I also support their team and the gym as needed. As a result, I grew my world and my family. I get to watch my daughters and their teammates perform amazing physical feats on the mat while they grow as leaders and people. I get to watch them win and lose with grace because that’s the golden rule of cheerleading.

While Cheer on Netflix correctly pointed out there is no career waiting once these athletes max out on age, there is something even better. There is a life waiting for them for which they have all the ingredients and attributes for success.

You may be wondering where our cheer dad (The Dave) is in this. He gets to make his own post at The Rogers 5 in the future on this topic because his role is just as important as mine.AKD_6381


Ode to TP

This poem is a precursor to an opus I shall write on this topic.

As I sit on this throne,

Made of porcelain, white as bone

I think of what I could have been

Besides a prisoner stuck again

On this tidy bowl, arse to seat

My body full of angry heat

For my children have surely struck

And left me without a square to pluck

To wipe my bits and be set free

For the love of God, my children, replace the freaking TP

The Case of the Faint Mustache

Today is a big day for two reasons:

  1. I started my parenting blog adventure.
  2. My son started down the path to becoming a man.

Let’s start with my son. I woke him up as promised to go to our favorite diner for breakfast. I owed him a meal at Good Truckin since October, a belated present for his 13th birthday. Yes, I know it is January of his next birthday year. He understands that the schedule for a family of five does not compromise. He let the excitement build for three months and even took a shower last night in anticipation. He will heal from this.

I was not prepared for his morning greeting though.

I clapped my hands outside his door, turned on his lights, and yelled his name. He sat up 10 minutes later.

“Mom, I have a mustache,” he said as he walked over to me.

I looked closely. I looked more closely. I was in his damn face after a third move closer. Indeed, there was a lightly colored caterpillar on his lip. It wasn’t a young, super fuzzy caterpillar. It was more like an aging, balding caterpillar, but it was there.

“Yes, it looks like you do. Where’s your dad?”

If my boy was looking for some grand wisdom from me about young male facial hair, he would be sorely disappointed. I came from a family of three girls. He was my first and only son. I couldn’t keep my own body hair situated, and I only promised him breakfast today. We left for the diner.

Hanging out with a thirteen-year-old boy is much like parallel play with toddlers. You occupy the same space, glance at each other occasionally, and grunt basic words, which if you are patient enough, communicate ideas. It was the best time I had in months. Even when my kid spilled his water all over his food, himself, and the people next to him because of his misplaced, drunk squirrel boy movements, we had fun. He let me take a picture of him basking in the glory of impending manhood. We drank coffee, black in mourning of boyhood’s exit. We returned home and parted ways.

I did pick up a little nugget of wisdom from my son about the difference between boys and girls on the way home. He cleared his cracking voice and let me know boys proudly fart. Girls hide them. I don’t know how I lived this long without such a clear explanation.

Going back to 1) above, I am looking forward to sharing the ups and downs of parenting and family life on this blog, using a healthy dose of humor. I may share some parenting tips and things we like to watch, eat, use etc. in the Rogers 5 household. As you can see, I use the tagline of “Live. Love. Laugh.” Yes, we have one or two of those signs in our house like everyone in the suburbs raising families. You can’t leave Target without one. I’d like to think we do this trifecta a little differently though, and I’d like to share our funny chaos with you. But for now, I must go research safety shavers and little man face cream for my boy.