By Anita Tedaldi: FNM columnist
My kids inspire me to be a better person. They test my patience, they make me laugh, they make me cry, they humble me.
I can always do better for them.
My daughter Anna has a special place in my heart. One that includes uneven bars, a beam, a bouncy floor and a vault. Anna is 6 1/2 years old. She’s a competitive gymnast.
Gymnastics is tough. It demands everything and more. Anna trains 20 hours per week.
Her love of gymnastics is far older than her young age. It’s so big I wonder if her little heart can hold it all in one place. That’s why sometimes I carry that love in my heart. That’s why sometimes my heart skips a beat when she tumbles through the air.
But then I look at her face and there she is, my Anna.
Smiling at her coach.
She has hard calluses on her hands from all the time spent on those uneven bars. She’s so proud when she gets a rip, when she does a kip with straight arms.
She doesn’t stop when it’s tough. Even if the high bar looks far from where she’s standing. And she just goes for it.
Some days she sticks it.
Some days she falls on her butt.
But she keeps going back and striving for more.
I stand on the sidelines because I can’t make it happen for you. No one can. It’s all within you. I can bring you to the road you wish to take but you walk this path alone.
I’m here, I watch and smile and kiss your little cheek.
And shed a tear when you fall and get hurt.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s too much for a small child, but you can’t seem to stop practicing no matter where we go.
You’re determined and strong and you’re one of the loves of my life, Anna.
We love children so much, so intensely.
How do your kids inspire you? How about other people’s kids? Are they mostly annoying?