R. has always been somewhat shy when you first meet her. She'll talk to you, as long as she is holding my hand or sitting in my lap. She needs that safety. And though she is funny as hell with those she knows well, she does not like to be the center of attention to those she is unfamiliar with.
Yesterday my neighbor and friend, J., called to say that she was signing up R.'s BFF, E., for cheerleading.
"They can be cheerleaders at 5?!" I asked in astonishment.
"Yea, can you believe it? E. wants to do it," she answered.
I thought how adorable the two girls would be together. But I knew R. would never follow through with it. "Nah, I'll pass. She'll never get in front of strangers like that. Good luck with E.!"
Later on that night the girls played outside together. R. ran up to me and said, "I want to be a cheerleader with E.!!!"
I asked her if she knew what a cheerleader was.
"Um, nooooooo," she answered.
"Well, a cheerleader wears a cute little outfit and claps and yells RAH! RAH! to football players at games. They do it in front of all the people watching the game."
"Oh. Nevermind, 'cause actually, I don't want to be a cheerleader."
I told her, "Maybe next year."
I secretly hoped she would want to do it, if only to bust my mother-in-law's chops. You see I was a cheerleader in 6th grade. I only stuck with it for one year because I really only tried out to prove a point.
I wanted to prove to everyone and myself that I could DO it. That I could actually, in a town full of cliques, make the team, on my own.
I had fun, but back then, I'd rather play baseball, soccer, and football with the boys.
But back to my mother-in-law.
I remember when my niece made the cheerleading squad. I can still see the look on my MIL's face when my sister-in-law told her the news. It was a look of total disgust.
She said to my SIL, "UGH. I can't believe you are letting her do that. She needs to stick with her school work."
My SIL looked at me and rolled her eyes. My MIL can sometimes be very opinionated even when she really has no idea what she is talking about.
She continued, "Don't roll your eyes, don't you KNOW what they grow up to be?"
"Ah, here we go," I thought to myself. She's going to throw out the "all cheerleaders are whores" innuendo. Not being able to take her irrational debate on the life of a cheerleader, I piped up, "Um, a wife to your son?"
For the first time since I had met her, she was speechless.
Score one for me. RAH! RAH!