Not quite sure how to feel about a twelve-year old son who now reads the Globe and Mail on his i-pod. I am thinking that I need to daily start reading the newspaper just to keep up with his brilliant mind. I don’t want it to come to the place where his mother knows less than he does. Or maybe we have already arrived at that place. He is telling me all the latest news from across the country as I arrange clothing in his drawers.
I am thinking, as I find a place for faded jeans and well-worn t-shirts that we are heading into new terrain with our boy- with the issues, discussions and conversations we have been having lately. This morning, my boy was nervous about junior high school try-outs for soccer. I urged him to give it a try, adding that it wouldn’t be half as bad as what he was conjuring up in his mind. He was nearly making himself sick with worry. I figured that since he was imagining the worst, that it couldn’t possibly be as bad as he might think.
Well. I am losing my sixth sense, me thinks. He came in the door at 5:00 p.m., tears brimming in his eyes. Then he said, “Mom, it wasn’t at all as bad as I thought it would be. It was worse.”
Sucker punch to a mother’s heart. Since I had been the one prodding him to attend try-outs, I was the one who felt responsible. And the one who should have had the instinct to know how it would all play out, right?
A hug can sometimes be a salve, and other times just be felt as an irritation. Today, it was the right fit. I grabbed him and gave him a heartfelt, albeit awkward as I was only able to hug him from one side around the neck, hug. It was the right move. He took it as an open-door to talk about just exactly how horrible, embarrassing and intimidating the practice actually was. How big the other boys were. How fast they could run. How deep were their dives toward net How wide their arm span. And as he talked, I watched the stress dissolve and his face relax. It was like relaying a bad dream. In the talking about it, the monsters did not seem half so scary. And the more he talked, the easier it was for him to admit that it was okay to not have made a lasting impression on the soccer coach. He was going to move on gracefully. Unscathed.
In spite of the humiliation he felt today, I am glad he went to that try-out. If only for the fact that he proved to himself that he can do hard things.
And that is what it is all about now, isn’t it? Doing hard things. And while doing things that are difficult is both probable and possible in the real world in which we live, when we believe we can do hard things, we really can.