pallet wood heart

Seven days, five hours, 32 minutes and four seconds ago….

….I became one of those moms.


To my credit….at the time I had no idea how I was coming across.

I thought I was just being helpful.

And encouraging and uplifting and inspiring and constructive….and maybe, just maybe….

…..the tiniest bit zealous.

After all, it was an occasion of great magnitude.

Middle school cheerleading tryouts.



Maybe it was my own failed attempt at cheerleader tryouts where I awkwardly stood in front of a panel of judges with a lot of heart and spunk and a bow in my hair with my name on it and shouted out, “Victory, victory, victory tonight” followed by a cartwheel that looked like a cross between a windmill and a chicken trying to cross the road.

Maybe it was the fact that I knew that feeling of despair when they post the names for the squad….

….and yours isn’t there.

Maybe it was the determination and excitement I saw in my daughter’s eyes.

All I knew was that I was on the task.



And super, super, super helpful.

pallet wood heart with rusty hinge

And I was.

Helpful, I mean.

I watched as she practiced her routine and made helpful suggestions (only helpful of course).

I planned out the perfect cheerleading tryout outfit for her (extra, extra helpful).

I watched her cartwheels and pointed out just a few teeny tiny things she could improve on (with only the most helpful of tips).

I even performed the cheer myself complete with an award winning smile and a few signature moves that I felt added a little something extra to the routine.

Helpfulness at its finest.

pallet wood rusty hinge

The day of tryouts finally arrived.

We were ready.

And early (which almost never happens) with bows on.

We stood outside the tryout room and I again, I was very helpfully giving her some last minute tips and pointers and reminding her to do this and this and oh….don’t forget this….

….when all of a sudden she interrupted me.

“Mom,” she said looking up at me with the most beautiful set of solemn blue eyes.  “I got this.

I literally stopped mid-sentence and stared at her.

What was I doing?

Who was this super-helpful, tip-pointing-out, routine-improving, super-smile-reminding, cartwheel-evaluating mom that I had become?

Standing in there outside the gym, I realized that there was only one person trying out for cheerleader.

And it wasn’t me.

wood heart

I was so ashamed.

I almost broke down in tears, but I didn’t.

Instead, I hugged her and told her she was amazing and that no matter what happened she was a creative, incredible, wonderful, one-of-a-kind-about to be middle-schooler.

And I was so proud to be her mom.

She smiled at me….the kind of smile someone gives you when they know you and all your faults and they love you anyway….and then she patted my arm and repeated again, “Don’t worry, Mom.  I got this.”

And she did. 🙂


PS  Yes, she made the squad.

In spite of all my help. 🙂

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  1. Image for Mimi - 247 Mulberry Lane Mimi - 247 Mulberry Lane

    Hurray for your little dumpling's success! S-U-C-C-E-S-S that's the way we spell success--Sorry, I got caught up in my own unfulfilled cheerleading dreams... I think we all are guilty of having "Helicopter Mom" moments. My son abruptly brought this to my attention one day when he announced, "MOther! You are going to give me an aneurysm!" Um, yeah...I brought that helicopter down for a crash landing. :-)

  2. Image for Beemie Beemie

    She will always remember how you helped her even though right now she did it on her own. Stay helpful...of course, do so in the bleachers for now. Loved the way you told this story.

  3. Image for Peg Peg

    There is a fine line in parenting between immersing ourselves in our children's lives and overcontrolling, overprotecting and overperfecting. I see you as the former, and your daughter is very lucky to have you as a mom! Peg : )

  4. Image for Karen Karen

    Good job making the squad !! And good job Mom.... “You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.” ― Maya Angelou

  5. Image for Pat Pat

    Oh, those days, I remember waiting at the water fountain for the results of homecoming queen candidates, I made the candidates and my twin didn't and how much I cried as I wanted both of us to make the selection. And we were seniors in high school. Congratulations to your daughter.

  6. Image for Leslie Leslie

    You know what I heard??...a beautiful confidence instilled by that sweet mother. Someone once told me children are simply recorders..and occasionally the playback button gets hit. Well, done! I think I just heard a bit of the playback of all you have taught her...and she has "got this"!

  7. Image for Gilly @ Colour Saturated Life Gilly @ Colour Saturated Life

    There are blogs I read for the DIY's and the pretty rooms and then there is your blog.....I read it for your heart and beauty and humour and just plan awesomeness. You never fail to make me laugh, smile, cheer or cry (in a good way), love you KariAnne, you have an incredible heart.

  8. Image for SuzyMcQ SuzyMcQ

    These kinds of moments, even though both of mine are in college, always reminded me of the kids that didn't have a parent offering advice or support...the encouragement to do one's best. My husband and I always naively figured all, or at least, most, parents were like us. A wonderful school secretary reminded us that we were the exception, not the rule and how very lucky our kids were, even if we sometimes hovered. Even though our children may have sometimes rolled their eyes at our suggestions, they always knew how much they were loved and cherished and continue to strive to be their best at everything they do.

  9. Image for MaryS MaryS

    Oh my. That brings up my memories. I was up against some stiff competition. One gal who was from middle school going into high school told the gym teacher/coach that she had a "dream" she didn't make the squad. Well.... you guessed it. She did. I did not. Walked home dejected, sad and broken hearted with a boil on my left knee to add misery to my misery. Ha. Worse day of my life.... then I realized it's just cheer leading. Life went on after all. Good job being a good Mom! Congrats to your new little cheer leader... Big step in her life.

  10. Image for Kristan Kristan

    Ha Ha Ha! Been there, done that! Oh my goodness how "helpful" we are and how wise our children. And remember, Kari Anne, you were the one who raised her to be the confident young lady she you should be very very proud of how wonderfully you have mothered your children. Now you can just sit back and watch them fly! BUT, mothering never stops even when your sons are grown and married and have children of their own....I know.....I still get the "Mom, I'm 39. I've got this." - HA!

  11. Image for Nancy Nancy

    If I had to choose only one blog to read, I would close yours. I scroll down my emails and click on yours and I know I'm not alone. So happy to hear that your daughter made the squad. Being "helpful" is in our DNA, I think.

  12. Image for gina gina

    We raise them so they won't need us... and then we get "punished" because they don't need us! My thirteen year old son has a dad who thinks it's 'his' Eagle project! ;)

  13. Image for jennybc jennybc

    The thing is that you did back off when she asked you to. We all get over zealous as parents but not everyone knows when to step away and believe that their child truly does have it together. I am sure you cheered in silence for her and watched her soar as you have raised her to do. And I am certain that her heart is especially peaceful at the fact that she has a mom who is behind her in her endeavors. That, is priceless. Congrats to your daughter and you will have so much fun watching her!

  14. Image for Maureen Maureen

    As a 70 yr old Nana, that brought me to tears. We want so much for our chicks, and also to heal our own past hurts. Yea you for 'getting it' KariAnne!

  15. Image for Kimberly Kimberly

    I totally understand. I have done the same thing with my incredibly beautiful and capable daughter. Thank goodness, like yours, she loves me (faults and all).

  16. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I am nodding my head in total agreement -- with my boys and daughter. They've managed to grow up beautifully despite my over eager mom routines that were always meant to be helpful!! I totally understand how you transformed yourself to super-helpful-uber-mom. You and your family are amazing.

  17. Image for Marie@The Interior Frugalista Marie@The Interior Frugalista

    Kerri Anne, while reading this I couldn't help but think wow Marie, you're a crappy Mom. I didn't help pick out her outfit, I didn't help her with a routine, gosh I didn't even attend her try outs. Truth be told, I didn't want her to be a cheerleader. I was the rough and tumble floor hockey kid who mocked the cheerleaders. Then my daughter had her first cheer leading competition. I was in the stands sobbing like a baby. So proud of her. So in awe of the athleticism involved in cheer leading. After that day, I was at every competition shouting from the bleachers throughout high school and beyond in the adult competitions. Kudos to you Mom for being there for your cheerleader right from the get go!

  18. Image for

    A BIG FAT CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! I know exactly what you mean. Last year my daughter tried out for the 7th grade squad. Her first and only try out. I didn't want her to be upset if she didn't make it, since all most all of the girls had been cheering since they were old enough to walk. I also gave pointers and suggestions, however at times I tried a bit to much.....I guess I thought I could do it for her. In the end she made the team and they went on this year to be district grand champions and my no so little sprout was right there with them. Proud Mom en-toe.

  19. Image for Crystal Crystal

    Your post brought tears to my eyes remembering my daughters cheerleading years. She went on to be an NCA instructor, and college cheer captain for a Rose Bowl team. It seems like yesterday. This is just the beginning, and you are so smart to realize it is her journey. Cheers to you both, enjoy every minute.

  20. Image for Betsy @ Happily Ever After, Etc. Betsy @ Happily Ever After, Etc.

    Don't ever be ashamed to be one of those moms.... I had one and she "helped" me make my cheer team back in high school in the same way you did. After four years of cheering I learned that my mom was over-Exuberant, over-helpful, and definitely over-embarrassing... And that was so much better than the girls who's moms didn't care about where they were, what they wore or what team they tried out for. Let her do the trying... But she'll always remember how much you cared.

  21. Image for diane diane

    How funny is this, my daughter Hope just tried out for cheerleading just this past week Your story was so much like ours I had to laugh! Congratuations and yes my Hope made her squad too!

  22. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    This is not a comment about this current blog, although it is a great one, but about your blog form itself. When I see I have an email from you I never have to preview it by reading the couple of paragraphs that arrive in my email box, I just regularly move on to your blog site because I know I will want to read whatever it is you have written there. In the old emails I could just click on your header/logo and go immediately to your blog. Now I have to scroll down to locate your "read more" button. For those of us who love everything you do and plan to thoroughly read it through whether it is of particular interest to us or not, could you please put the "go to" button back on your header? :-)

  23. Image for Anne Anne

    Congratulations to your daughter! It didn't work out so well for my daughter, and she never tried out again. But it's all good :-) She learned that she enjoys tennis..yay :-). I totally get trying to help...that's how us Moms are we want the best for our kiddos. And we don't want to see them fail. I think that's one of the hardest things about being a parent. But in the end it always works out :-)

  24. Image for Seng Seng

    Yey, she made the squad. I think what you are going through is probably the same thing I will be going through in the next few years. Thanks for the heads up :) Seng

  25. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    I am proud I have raised three independent girls but at times I feel sad that they don't need me at other times I am overwhelmed by how much they still need me, yeah I am never

  26. Image for Janet Cole Janet Cole

    OMG - congratulations! Following in her Aunt Jan's footsteps....I still cheer at Chris to hurry up when he's getting ready to go out: "Let's go! Let's go! L-E-T-S-G-O!"

  27. Image for Jaime Costiglio Jaime Costiglio

    Kari Anne lovely story but of course being the wood lover than I am your heart had me at the first pic. Do you have a source or did you make it? Also not sure if you follow Pauline @ My Altered State but she's got lots of similar heart projects:

  28. Image for Angela Que Angela Que

    Love your transparency...Such a fun story that ALL can all reality, you BOTH "got this"... ;)

  29. Image for laura laura

    good for your daughter on so many levels! For her to feel secure in her relationship with you and for you to hear her words and the meaning behind them. Love this KariAnne! laura

  30. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    Great Post! You've done a great job raising her! She's becoming independent and successful! That's what us Moms are here for to train and watch them fly! Congratulations to you both! Hope she loves it through-out her school career! My daughter did and won a scholarship into her first year of college! How they fly out of the next and soar! Pat yourself on the back and say job well done!

  31. Image for Stephanie Brown Stephanie Brown

    I know we are sisters of heart now for sure. Your tryout was like mine!! Was holding my breath that she made it so tickled she did. As A teacher, I hated cheerleadong tryouts because so sad at school. We knew who got it ( eyes red) and those that did( practicing cheers at recess and hallways too due to their excitement. So hated to see their tender hearts get hurt or disappointed. But truly a fact of life and part of growing up. They will survive!;) so Proud to read and cheered your baby girl made it!! Hope she has great season and makes marvelous memories!!

  32. Image for Vicki Vicki

    You are THE most wonderful mom and you did it "Just Right". Thousands of young ladies would love to have a mom that cares half as much as you!

  33. Image for Julia Julia

    Our children accomplish amazing things in spite of us! Congratulations to your cheerleader! We had one in our family - great memories!

  34. Image for Claudine Claudine

    AWWWWWW!!! Karianne!!! Here I am reading away about pallets... then see the post... I INNOCENTLY think: I MISS HER!!! and go on reading... Then I CRY!!!!! LOL LOL LOL You are the BEST mommy!!! The most helpful mommy, YES!!! Congratulations to your darling daughter! I love when they are confident!!! They are US... IMPROVED!!! LOL

  35. Image for Sharon Sharon

    I could just hear your voice throughout the story. And, the story reminded me of when I was a super helpful (read critical) big sister when my younger sister tried out for cheerleader. Sometimes I still think back on that day and wonder what it the world was I thinking...I wanted her to make it so bad, but my words just weren't helpful. (She did make it and then went on to be ranked number one at nationals.) All that to say, I feel ya, girl. I'm so glad your daughter made it. Tell her congratulations!

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