Why I Can’t Wait to Watch the Olympics with My Kids

july-7

In the August of 2012 I was a huge pregnant mom with two babies rapidly moving around in my belly every second of every day. And I was on modified bed rest, meaning that I could get out of bed but I couldn’t really do much else, especially with it being 500 degrees outside (give or take). So when the Olympics started I finally found my happy place. I watched it day and night and I remember just dreaming about what life would be like the next time the summer Olympics rolled around. I’d have two almost four year olds, which seemed crazy to me because at the time I didn’t even know what their little faces would look like. I couldn’t wait to know all of the things – what would make them laugh, what would their voices sounds like, would they get along, what would they like doing?

It was right there with the Olympics that I started to dream for my kids.  Here I am, just sitting around waiting with my fur baby:

me & peter

One of my favorite things about the past two summer Olympics has been watching Michael Phelps, but maybe not for the reason you think. I really loved watching his mom. She was clearly the woman always behind him, cheering him on, feeling the weight of the competition with him, nervously anticipating every move he made. And so many of these athletes just sit there through every interview they give and they talk about their mamas. Watching this as a hormonal pregnant lady, I teared up every single time. It reminded me that one of the most important things I will do as a mom is to be the cheerleader. My own little nervous heart was worried about being a first time mom times two, but be their cheerleader – that I could do!

So this year I got so excited to share this experience with my kids. And our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Guys, mommy is so excited because the Olympics are coming on soon.”

Kids: “What is that?”

Me: “Well, it’s this really special event that happends every four years that brings the entire world together. Athletes get to play soccer, gymnastics, swimming and they are really, really good at what they do. But the really cool thing is that they don’t always speak the same language or come from the same culture but they have this one thing in common.

Kids: ”Mommy, it’s an elmo song on the radio!”

So yeah, I left that conversation feeling like that didn’t resonate at all. But who knows, maybe once they watch it they’ll get it a little more. And even if they don’t, I got to start a conversation with them about what a great big world we live in. It’s so important to me that my kids know that. I want them to know that there are people in this world that live very different lives from us and that is great, and that there are so many things we still have in common with them. That even if we can’t communicate with our words, we can communicate in the things that we do and the way that we treat others.

july-8

You know what else I love about the Olympics? I LOVE the stories. And I love that these athletes have worked so hard to obtain their dreams. They have fallen and gotten back up or they have come from absolutely nothing but someone believed in them anyway. What a great lesson to teach your kids. Do I want my kids to be Olympic athletes one day? Not necessarily. But wouldn’t it be cool if, at the age of three, they at least started to understand the concept that hard work is a building block to achieving the things you dream about deep down in your heart?

Do they have to be perfect at what they do? No! Some of these athletes I know won’t be happy unless they take home the gold – but what a cool experience they get to have anyway. Just being there, they’ve already achieved so much and I hope my kids can one day see that. They started their journey when they were the age that my kids now are and they never stopped. That’s amazing!

This year, as I snuggle up to watch the Olympics with my kiddos who will no doubt be just as wiggly as they were in my belly four years ago, I’m also going to think about what all the other moms in the world are doing right at that moment as we all gaze into our televisions.

Four years ago, I was dreaming of two little ones while Knoxville Moms Blog owner Natalie was in labor with her son Conley and remembers watching. We all watch as we tuck our kids in bed or worry about what the future holds for them. Some of us watch while we worry about our child who just started kindergarten or we watch while we pray that our child will enjoy being homeschooled. We will watch as we feed newborn babies – some breastfed and some formula. We will watch as we remind ourselves to be a little more patient tomorrow. The Olympics unites all of us mamas too, in so many different stages making so many different decisions every day but still united by this world event.

july-1

I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited to experience what happens in Rio. With all the fighting and bickering we’ve seen in our country lately, my hope is that we can come together to cheer on our country and the amazing athletes we get to watch. That’s the thing I need right now – I need to show my kids that the world can come together in community and celebration. And I need to see that dreams really can come true. Maybe my kids are too young to really grasp any of this for this go round. But there’s always the next Olympics – and maybe, just maybe, it will inspire them a little now too.

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One Response to Why I Can’t Wait to Watch the Olympics with My Kids

  1. Jami August 4, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    I love this!! I was pregnant with my almost 4 year old last Olympics, too. I watched the opening ceremony at 39 weeks pregnant, I thought my water broke the night Gabby Douglas won the gold (I got to sneak a few minutes of her performance on the emergency room tv) then finally at 41 weeks my little girl arrived and I got to watch the closing ceremony from the maternity ward at Fort Sanders. So special!! I, too, remember thinking how crazy it was that the next time it came on I would have a 6 year old and a 4 year old, and now, here we are! How fast time flies!!!

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