Two and a half weeks ago, my eldest daughter started working out with me at the gym. After some heartbreaking things going on with the homeschool cheer team she'd been a member of for the last two years led her to decide to try something new, she decided that that new thing might be Crossfit.
I was a little wary at first. The gym had become my little refuge in he middle of a busy day. For that one hour I get to be just me and not mom, wife, or daughter. It's just me and how hard I can push myself. So I wasn't sure how I felt about having her intrude on that respite in my day.
Nearly three weeks later, I love it. It took some mental adjustment for me to go from being the person in charge of her to her being just another girl in the Box. (That's what Crossfit people call their gyms - the Box.) at some point she became a teammate and comrade. We competed with each other and cheered each other on. Each has consoled the other during asthma attacks that ruin our times, or personal goals we can't quite reach. I've seen her throw her gloves in frustration and she's seen me collapse in utter exhaustion.
Somewhere in the sweat, grime, and hand chalk, we've seen the woman that we truly are. We sweat and push ourselves and see the people who hide behind the labels of mom and daughter. I've gotten to see the fierce competitor whose intense focus won't allow her to accept anything less than the best she can do. I also get to know the teasing jokester, the girl who doesn't whine, and is always willing to lend a hand. She has seen the mom she knows become a laughing jock with a salty sense of humor who dances to gangsta rap while she waits to begin. She gets to see my not so serious side, and also the determination and competitive spirit that pushes me to always try to be on top of the leader board. We've discoverd in each other women that we really like. We root for each other and get to be friends for that one too-brief hour of the day.
Having a teenager can be hard, but what a gift this one hour a day is to us. We get to see the women beyond what we are to each other. We get to see beyond the awkwardness of this moment in our relationship and see the friendship that can someday be ours. For the first time, I'm looking toward the time when my baby is no longer my baby, and I'm so excited to see the possibility of what can be.