Written by Emily
I went to my son’s game, and I’m still here. Despite the anxiety bouncing around inside me like shaken soda, I did not implode or explode. I was sure that my competitiveness and my blinding love for my boy would mix and create a chemical reaction the likes of which no chemist has ever seen.
I know. You’re thinking, “Um, he’s six. Dial it back, Nut Job.” I KNOW!
Why the anxiety?
He loves it so very much. He is being sustained by hockey alone at this point. I don’t think he’s stopped to eat for days. I fear failure or his perceived failure will hurt him too much, and I am his mom. I can identify with this nonsense:
Protecting him is my game, isn’t it?
Upon seeing my boy’s comfort and subtle confidence on the ice, my stuff, my neurosis melted away in that freezing cold rink and was replaced by pride. Not an obnoxious, loud, cheer-until-your-throat-burns, turn-to-fellow-parents-and-point-out-my-kid kind of pride, a quiet pride. A pride that comes from seeing your kid embrace a challenge.
I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t want him to join this league. I didn’t want him to be the youngest boy on the team. I didn’t want him to be the littlest. Only months ago he was on the “puddle”–babies on the ice. I wanted him to do that again. Gain confidence. Be one of the better ones. Feel success.
Wrong, again, mom.
He and my husband chose this–this league where he would be the newbie, the rookie, the kid other kids skated circles around. I went to one of the original practices and told my husband that this was a mistake. I wanted him out of there. I feared it would destroy his confidence.
Wrong again, mom.
He’s fine. He’s better than fine. He’s competing out there.
But this isn’t about hockey. It’s about me, the mom. I’m the rookie learning how to parent, how to let go and let him be the underdog. And he’s rising to the occasion. He’s stepping up to the plate, jumping in feet first (no on the mixed sport metaphors?).
People tell me there will be harder things than this. There will be real failures. There will be harder things than skinned knees. There will be bruised egos. It’s going to be horrible for me…er, him. For us really.
But I can’t be a roadblock. My fear can not become my son’s.
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of my heart fracturing into a million tiny pieces that will fall away as my children grow.
A few weeks ago the coach emailed us to see if Noah would like to play goalie. All the kids get to try their hand at it. No. Nah. Nope. No, thanks, coach. We asked Noah. He wants to do it.
Wrong again, mom.
I may sit that game out.