I am thankful for the really good people who invest in my kids.
Coach Brittany, Coach Kylie, and Coach Angie at gymnastics. Bubbles is 11 now, and she has had a major, unexplained weight gain the last few months. All blood work came back normal, so it's not a hormonal problem. We're praying that the start of puberty will stretch her back out, because this girl LOVES gymnastics, and the extra weight is really messing her up at the gym. Coach Brittany and Coach Kylie are working through it with her and helping her regain her confidence and the courage to try new skills. Coach Brittany and Coach Angie have been working hard with Sunny, who is excelling unbelievably well. They see her talent, encourage her, and push her a bit harder than the others, and she is blossoming. Pepper has hyperlaxity of the joints (his shoulders and hips are very loose). This has resulted in his hamstrings and quads overcompensating and becoming very tight. He likes gymnastics, but it is hard to do gymnastics when you're not flexible even a little bit. Coach Brittany has been a huge cheerleader for him as he has worked through some painful stretching to gain more flexibility. Bubbles and Sweet Pea take classes too, and the coaches have impacted them as well. All my kids are more confident, stronger, and have greater self control--both physical and emotional--because of these wonderful coaches.
Betty, Domingo, Don, Sara, Linda, Wendy, Anissa, Michelle, Vijay, and Christina at Awana. These are my kids' Awana handbook leaders. Every week they love my kids, listen to their verses, pray with/for them, and encourage them. They are VIPs in the kids' spiritual development.
Sensei Marco, Sensei Elijah, Sensei Karen, Mr. David, and Ms. Nancy at karate. Each of these instructors has personally invested in my kids. Marco is Snapper's and Bubbles' favorite instructor. He's gentle and soft-spoken, but don't let it fool you. He's a third degree black belt, and could kill you in a second with his skills. Elijah is Pepper's favorite. He's really fun and exciting to work with. Karen is Piper's favorite. She is also very fierce, but is very patient with the young kids who haven't figured out their bodies yet. David and Nancy aren't black belts yet, but they come in and help, and are amazing with the kids. These people also love my kids and are winsomely teaching them about respect for God, for self, and for others.
Coaches at cross-country. The three coaches (plus Daddy, who is an assistant coach) are just more amazing people who give their time to help the kids. Cross-country has been instrumental in Pepper's life. When he started in kindergarten, his muscles were so hypotonic that he couldn't run. The coaches took his hands and helped him along until by the end of the season, he was no longer finishing last in all the races. Now, in 4th grade, I can't wait to see how he does. The first race is December 12th. Last year he was a middle-of-the-pack finisher, running an entire mile without stopping. This year he's stronger and faster. He has more weight on him. He has better endurance. Sunny, too, is ready to excel this year. The coaches build their self-esteem and confidence, praise effort, and push them to be better.
Mrs. M, Ms. E, and Mr. G are Snapper's theater directors and vocal coach. They see the potential in her and bend over backward to help her reach her potential.
Officer D, the resource officer at the elementary school. She has invested considerable time and energy into Sunny, and she is Sunny's hero.
I can do all these things for my kids if I really expend a lot of effort. But having outside sources is so important. The way I see it, a kid can't have too many people to love him/her. The more people who love and invest in the kid, the more people the kid has to lean on and go to when times are hard. To say I am thankful is an understatement!