This week I encountered something that all parents with athletes have been through at some point. It’s the part that we don’t discuss but why not? Some are choosing to parent the “#1 or nothing” motto where others are more of the “everyone gets a medal”. Maybe you’re like me and you are still trying to figure out some grey area to teach in the middle; to be kind, try your best, work hard, and never give up.
Nobody tells you how hard parenting an athlete will be. You drive them to practice you wait patiently until the complete each and every task. You wipe away tears when practice doesn’t go well and cheer them on when they are proud of new skills they learn. You anxiously wait on baited breath as they perform their skill and it’s completely out of your hands. You are left to just watch and hope. Maybe you almost pass out from not breathing. Maybe you pee a little when they do it all correct and well!! Maybe you tear up when they lock eyes with you and you see their excitement. But then you wait for results. Was it enough? Did the judges see the good? Did they see everything you saw which was, through Mom goggles, perfection?
No. Not today. Today they saw a flaw here or there. They saw something just a little bit better in the other team. So now you, Mom, it’s your job that wasn’t listed in the 317 books on parenting you’ve read, to go ahead and become the Tony Robbins of this family. It’s up to you to sell it to your mini me the way you wish it was sold to you. Sold with big hugs, lots of smiles, endless compliments, ice cream, and so many compliments that your mini says “ok Mom, I get it, you’re proud”! But still, you are a parent of a budding young adult and wonder ‘was it enough? Did I say everything? Will they remember my words over the disappointment?’
All we can do is hope that yes, we did it. We made them see what we’ve known all along, that they are magnificent young people that have the potential to achieve greatness. These young people that one day will look back and remember all the fun they had in this sport and none of the hurt. But you see, the thing the books done tell you, is that we do. We still feel it. We carry with us everyday those little tears. The little hurts. The little ‘but why Mom’?
So here’s to us, here’s to the littles that don’t remember how hard today was at all. That all they remember is your smiling face and those important words you repeat constantly, “I love you and I’m so proud of you”.
That’s parenting. That’s the real deal the books leave out.