My children have grown up at the YMCA. I’ve been a member of the YMCA for about 25 years. I’m not gonna lie–I’m no fitness goddess. My attendance there over time has been hit and miss, at times more miss than hit, but it’s been a constant in my life for more than half of it. It’s been a constant in my children’s lives forever. That changes this week.
Our Y declared bankruptcy about a year ago, and has been searching for a buyer in that time. Last week they announced that our Y would be closing as no viable purchase could be brokered. Super suck for the 8,900 members there (and they couldn’t stay afloat?? I don’t get it), and super super suck for us. My boys attended preschool classes there from the time they could walk. They’ve been enrolled in everything from tumbling teddy bears, basketball, tae kwon do, soccer, t-ball, football, Kindercampers, Day Camp to swim classes. Is it possible to feel a sentimental attachment to an organization or a building? If so, I’m attached. I’m mourning the loss of this place, the people contained therein and the people we’ve met through our membership. But it’s the loss of day camp and swim that breaks my heart most.
My big kid has never been confident in his athletic abilities. ‘Athletic abilities’ may be generous; he’s never been confident in his body. Well, DUH, this all makes sense now. The Y was a place where we could go and not be judged by his lack of athletic prowess. His first-ever Kindercampers teacher told me, “that kid marches to his own drummer” and that has held true. BUT his internal drum beat was at home at his Y. He attended a few weeks of camp last summer, and on his last day in 2014 proclaimed that he wanted to do more weeks this year, and maybe become a counselor there some day. Swimming is a sport/activity that he loves, but we don’t have the means (or the real estate) to install an Olympic-size pool in our yard. Visiting the Y 10 minutes from our home was a wonderful, safe, active outlet for him. And now I say that it WAS.
It feels particularly painful because the Y had programs tailored to people with disabilities. It’s one of the things I loved about the organization. My kid isn’t there yet–no marked decline in his functioning. There is no line between last week and today, but there might be some day. No, there will be some day, and this loss to a community is especially pointed in my family. This week? Really??