The Olympics are killing me.

This happens every four years. The greatest sports competition in the world takes the stage, and I forget to sleep for two weeks. I try to be a responsible adult, and I tell myself over and over that I won’t stay up and watch every event, but I’m a sucker for human interest stories, and the Olympics drags me kicking and screaming into the arena.

United States' Simone Biles bites her gold medal for the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

United States’ Simone Biles bites her gold medal for the artistic gymnastics women’s individual all-around final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

We’re a week into this event, and I’ve got the bags under my eyes to prove it, but it’s been worth it to cheer on the athletes. Plus, it’s provided a tiny bit of motivation to get back to the gym and actually put in a modicum of effort.

Because when you watch the sacrifices these athletes have made, it sort of obliterates any excuses one may have to skip that extra round of crunches.

Last night, I watched once again as athlete after athlete finished first, second, third…

I watched Michael Phelps smoke the field in the 200 IM. I watched Simone Biles soar to the top of the podium in what I’d call her destiny (if I believed in destiny).

And I blinked back tears as so many of them rushed into the stands to hug their moms after it was all said and done.

Parenting children is the ride of a lifetime.

We know everything about these kids of ours, from their greatest strengths to the weaknesses that threaten to hold them back, and we walk the razor thin line of knowing when to push, and when to step away.

We make mistakes along the way, and we will always wish we did something better. At the end of the day, most of us know we won’t watch our children get a gold medal hung around their necks.

But all of us, without doubt, will watch as our children navigate the world of growing up. We’ll cheer them on from the sidelines of life, sometimes with our hands over our eyes, waiting with bated breath to see just how far they’ll go.

Let’s face it – We’re all Aly Raisman’s parents. Some of us mask it better, but all of us feel like a nervous wreck at times watching our kids grow up.

Today is a shout out to all the awesome parents who are doing the hard work. This is for the parents who are pushing their kids to succeed, and the ones who are cringing when they fall short.

This is for the parents who are wondering if they’re not doing enough, and for those who feel like they’re pushing too hard.

This is for all of us who are trying to do the best that we can, wishing we had a crystal ball to give us the outcome and save us so much emotional stress.

This is for the parents of potential Olympians, future business leaders, possible missionaries, someday stay-at-home moms, and young men who will work hard to provide for their families.

This is for all of us raising kids in a world that feels scary and dangerous.

Maybe we will cheer them on to gold someday, or maybe we won’t. Either way, we’re doing a heckuva a job. 

We will all deserve a great big hug at the end of this road.

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