It was hard to watch gymnast Gabby Douglas' triumph at the Olympics this week without feeling a sort of parental pride. The first black American to win an individual gold in gymnastics, she did it at just 16! She's an amazing kid.
But she couldn't have done it if her mom hadn't been willing to do something few parents could. Natalie Hawkins sent her daughter halfway across the country at just 14 years old, all alone.
In a moving interview about her decision to let teenage Gabby train with a gymnastics coach in Iowa while she and her other kids stayed behind in their native Virginia, Hawkins made no bones about how tough the decision was. And she was pretty hard on herself, telling the AP, "I'm thinking to myself the whole time, 'What kind of mother does something like that?'"
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I'd say the kind of mother who realizes being a parent means doing what's best for your kid, even when it hurts you to do it.
I don't know if I could send my child to live without me in another town, in another state at any age. Part of me would be wracked with worry that something would happen to her. Part of me would be missing her so badly it hurt.
But if I step away from it all, I realize that my fears would likely be silly -- after all, bad things can happen anywhere -- and my desire to keep her in my home so I wouldn't miss her would be selfish.
I can't fault Hawkins for making this sacrifice for Gabby. Here she had this kid with an immense talent, but the resources in their town weren't enough to help foster it. She made the tough choice, but she made the one that was best for her kid. Isn't that what being a good mom is all about?
Do you think you could do what Gabby Douglas' mom did for her?
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