Good Lord with the teenagers already!!!! They’re both good kids, but they’re exhausting…..just as exhausting as they were when they were toddlers. I spend half my days feeling I’m repeatedly banging my head against a wall, or need to be. Someone has stolen my children’s brains. I’m not sure they understand, nor speak, English any longer. We are back in the land of having to say everything at least three times before we have any hope of it sinking in, and then one or two additional times for them to actually process, and then probably once more for the sibling who just walked into the room and now needs to know what’s happening. Did that make sense? No? Exactly.
Big Man is trying out for the high school soccer team. It’s pretty competitive – about 40 boys going out for 20 spots on the JV team. Yeah, there’s every chance he’s not going to make the team. Yesterday didn’t help at all. He had missed a Spanish test a few weeks ago when he had to leave school early for a cross country meet. Don’t ask me why he waited three weeks to take the test, but he decided yesterday was the day. Or maybe the teacher told him yesterday was his last chance. Regardless, he informed me yesterday morning he wasn’t going to soccer practice – the second day of soccer practice when there are 40 boys competing for 20 roster spots – because he needed to take this Spanish test. Oh, and by the way, the highest grade he could get would be a B because the teacher would be knocking his score down a full grade due to it being so late. Cue the momma flip out. I loudly informed him he would take his test, and then go to practice, and to have one of his friends let the coach know what was happening. School comes first, ALWAYS, but by golly, you’re going to practice the second day of the gig. Geez.
At 3pm, right when practice was to start, he sent me a text to come get him as he’d forgotten his shorts for practice. What the what? Cue momma flip out number two. I was just going to take his shorts to him, but when I pulled up, he had already told the coach he was leaving. I was mad. I couldn’t talk to him.
Here’s the deal – if he doesn’t make the team, it’s not the end of the world. But I don’t want him to not make the team because he didn’t try. If he’s not going to make the team, I want it to be because there were at least 20 other boys more skilled than he on the field. Here’s what I see him doing (because he’s done this before) – when things get hard, or he’s afraid he isn’t good enough, he will come up with whatever reason to walk away. At least that’s what I see happening. Know where he gets it? Me. Yes, I’m owning it. I’ve outgrown most of that tendency, but my brain will go there when something is hard. I generally push through in spite of my fear and worries. That’s a huge part of why I started running half marathons – it helps me fight against the hard stuff, push myself to keep going.
So I was angry yesterday, because I saw him doing what I used to do. I don’t want him to have regrets or feel he’s let himself miss out on something. And life is only going to get more difficult, more terrifying, with many more opportunities for failure/disappointment. I wish someone had taught me how to push back, push through, push myself when things got hard or scary. I was a self-motivated perfectionist who didn’t do messy. Maybe I wouldn’t have to fight myself so much now if someone had pushed me back when I was in high school. So I’m pushing him a bit. Spouse and I are both pushing him. He’s capable of so much more than he realizes. I want him to see what we see…..an amazing young man who can go further than he imagines, as long as he doesn’t let fear make him give up before he’s seen what he can do.