Support Your Kid With Your Face. And the Rest of You. Especially Olympians.

I don't know about y'all dudes, but I'm an Olympics freak. I mean, I'm not completely addicted. I do go about my day. But if I happen to be in a store where the TV is on and catch a glimpse of some little gymnast flipping her tiny foreshortened body around on an uneven bar, or some hunky little Chris Hemsworth mini-me flying around on the pommel horse or rings, I will knock you down to get over there and watch front row. Even if you are a helpless little old lady (I'll pick you up again when it's over. I've got manners)

Same thing happens to me during the Winter Olympics with figure skating. My kid just fell off the roof and is bleeding from both ears? "Yeah, yeah, shhh! Here. Put this bag of frozen peas on your face until this is over. And would you call the doctor please? You're 10. Man up. I'm watching tiny tiger-women on blades here." 

It's like I'm possessed.

But not nearly as possessed as the parents of the competitors.

This year, that's my favorite event to watch: Competitive Olympic Empathetic Parent-Face, Free Style. The best example so far has been Aly Raisman's parents as she did her uneven bar routine. Those peeps were attached to their kid at the hip. They knew her routine so well they were doing it with her in their seats. They were doing it with their bodies. They were doing it with their faces. They were like the parents I've seen at plays, mouthing all their kid's lines. Or at concerts, singing every word under their breath, or playing their kid's violin with their face, from a distance. It's hilarious and endearing. It shows how invested these parents are, and I love it. Check out the Raismans — especially Aly's dad after it's all over:

Bless their fuzzy hearts, they're so cute. And stressed. I've totally done this. Except my support is more vocal than the Raisman's. Like, along the lines of jumping up and screaming "GO GO GO JOSEPH YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAAAAAAAAY! HANG ON NOW JOSEPH YOU'LL MAKE IT SOME DAAAAAAAAY!" when my son was driving for a goal in soccer. And yeah, I've been in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat a few times. And yeah, my kid's name happens to be Joseph. AND NO, HE WAS NOT EMBARRASSED BY ME AT ALL, WHY DO YOU ASK? Except he recently told that he nearly died every time I did that. He was five at the time. He's now seventeen. He's waited a long time to break it to me. Cute boy. And I'm only a little embarrassed in return.

Ah well. It just means we like our kids, right? We who live vicariously through them. And it's totally healthy. I'm sure of it. Meantime I've gotta learn songs that match my other kids' names. Or at least learn to sing them quietly. With my face.

About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


  1. Puh-rice-less! I used to love the Olympics, especially gymnastics, a lot, but haven’t had the tv time to watch much this year. What I did catch the other night, whoa. They’ve upped the ante a bit from 4 years ago, with special little leaps and tricks on the floor exercises that I didn’t remember happening before. ‘rental reactions priceless! Thanks for that…brightened my day!

  2. Claire just told me this year that she hates it when I sing along to the radio in a store. As in – she’ll come up and plead Mooooom! and cover my mouth. Like that doesn’t draw attention. Please.

    Once, Lily and I started singing along together, quietly! it’s not like we give concerts in the frozen foods section, and Claire walked away and said, ‘I don’t know you.’


    • Kids are so funny with the things that embarrass them and the things they’re fine with. Joseph used to hate it if I ever used an accent while speaking–which, please. I’m a theater person. I do all kinds of weird stuff. But it was fine for me to come to his elementary school and read stories using accents. Go figure.

      Bruce rarely gets the hiccups, but when he does they register on the Richter scale. I totally walk in a different aisle from him when this happens in public. You canNOT believe the violence of it. Trust me. You’d leave too, bless him.

  3. Honestly, I think I really stterad pulling for her more than any of the other US gymnasts because her parents were just so cute:-) They showed them during the filing of that complaint where they eventually gave her the bronze and it looked like her Dad had to get up and rush to the bathroom, he just couldn’t take it!

    • Oh I agree. They were adorable. Great for kids to have supportive parents like that. I love watching parents during their kids’ concerts or performances, and they’re mouthing the whole thing right along with the child. So great.

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