I see you there on the sidelines diving for that invisible ball, willing your son to be just an inch taller as the opposition’s rocket sails *just* over his head.
You watch his shoulders slump, his deep breath, his attempt to shake it off.
You cup your hands over your mouth and yell encouragement, ‘You’ve got this, Buddy.”
But you feel it in your gut. You may as well have just missed that goal yourself.
You can’t win for him.
You can teach him the power of teamwork, of getting back up when you are knocked down, of how to handle disappointment and to keep from giving up when you are frustrated.
I see you on the bleachers, your girl coming up to bat. She’s been working on her swing and feels like she has something to prove. She’s been falling in the lineup. You tell her…if she wants a better position, she needs to work for it.
The first pitch sails over her head. Nothing she can do about it.
The second one comes in. Hard. Right at her knee.
You hold your breath.
Three years ago, a hit like this had you at the fence nearly in tears, but, she’s no longer in t-ball. You can’t go running on the field to carry her off. (no matter how you WANT to do so)
She shakes it off and limps to first.
Years ago….a hit like this, and the fear it inspired, nearly kept her from the game.
But not this time.
Mom…. you might have felt sick to your stomach when she was up to bat next time, but the lessons you and dad taught her about fighting back the fear and pounding the ball? They worked. A line drive and 2 RBI’s later, you can say your girl got right back in the game.
I see you there…. listening with your ears and your heart as your little one tells you the stories from school, from the playground, from the neighborhood.
He was left out.
She wasn’t invited.
That girl made fun of my clothes.
He called me a name.
She kicked me in the hallway.
He pushed me at recess.
She called me ‘braceface’.
“I asked if I could play, and they said ‘no’.”
With every sentence, you hurt, you ache, you teach them how to respond, how to use their words, how to stand up for themselves, how to find the friends who will support them. At least you hope you do. And sometimes you put on a great big, brave face and then walk away and cry.
Because not everyone will like you. And not everyone is kind. And this is life. Definitely not our favorite part of life, but life. So you teach them, ‘YOU be kind, ok?’.
I see you there, watching him, tongue out in concentration. It is math. He wants to do it on his own. He wants to ask for help.
You feel the same way. He needs to learn to do it, but you want to help. You are watching the gears moving, but something isn’t clicking.
You watch a big tear sneak from the corner of his eye.
This parenting business is tough. 6th grade math is hard. He’s a tough kid – nothing, I repeat NOTHING brings him to tears – except the confusion that comes from math. You feel helpless.
All you can do is be there just as you are: Help. Guide. Support.
You’ve got this, Mom.
I see you hiding in your dining room as she practices for her choir audition in the other room. She refuses to perform for you. R-E-F-U-S-E-S.
She is terrified and you know it.
You build her up the only way you know how…complimenting her gift, offering words of advice. Her false bravado has erected a wall, deafening her to your advice. You are wasting your breath.
You slap your arm on the counter, willing her to allow an infusion of your 42-year-old courage to flow to her 10 year-old-body. She’s having none of it.
She will sink or swim on her own.
When she buckles under the pressure and you are certain you have failed her, you will lie next to her as she sleeps, listening to her heartbeat, reminded that her heart, not yours, will be her guide.
Friends…. I used to think I wouldn’t survive the early years – the lack of sleep, the refusal to eat certain foods, the toddler years, good heavens – the POTTY TRAINING. But with each new age and stage there are new heartaches and challenges. Some of these, I am experiencing, some YOU are experiencing and some, I know, are yet to come.
Either way, I see you.
I see you loving your kids.
I see you guiding and trying, hurting and helping and yes, sometimes having to let go. We will get through this together, ok?