I look around the motel room checking under the bed and in the drawers to see if my little ones hid anything anywhere. There are bobby pins scattered all over the hotel room. It’s no wonder I can never find any when I need one. Do I have the energy to pick them up after this long competition weekend? Is it terrible to leave them for the cleaning service? The girls are crying because they are hungry, so I decide to leave them there. 

Those bobby pins each hold a memory from the exhausting weekend we just had. The one over there represents the butterflies in my stomach as they announce the girls and they skip onto stage. This one here contains all the tears my daughter shed when she forgot part of her routine and thought I was disappointed in her. Wait… how can she ever think that?

I remember the stabbing pain I felt in my heart when I realized how she felt. I could never be disappointed in her. I hold her hand and wipe her tear off her cheek. I beg her to understand that no matter how well she performs or whatever her score might be that I could never be disappointed in her. Never. She works so hard every single day in the studio and at the gym. Sweating and perfecting every detail of her backhand springs and leaps. I tell her how much I love her and how proud I am of everything she has accomplished. There is nothing she could ever do to change how I feel about her.

— Parent guest writer