Tag Archives: decisions

To Swim or Not To Swim

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This video made me cry today.

 

Swim season is starting again. The Girl’s sport. She took a break after championships last year. She’s not a competitive person by nature unless it involves one-upping her brother & the stress of championships got to her. While she loves to swim & was proud of what she had accomplished, those moments before she had to get on the block & race were her worst. We watched the Olympics together & as we watched Katie Ledecky & Simone Manuel & the other swimmers, The Girl would say, “I almost can’t watch. I’m nervous for them.”

I knew she was on the fence about returning to the sport this season. She misses her friends on the team & truly enjoys swimming, if not competing. I thought seeing these strong women compete in her sport would inspire her to keep going. I thought she would see her own potential as they raced. I told her all about the three swimmers from her very own team that went to the Olympic trials, thinking that news of someone close to home reaching for that gold would inspire her to continue.

In the end, she decided to stop.

And I had to let her make that decision.

After years of being the decision maker, there comes a time when you have to let them decide on their own. It happens gradually. So gradually that I didn’t notice it sneaking up on me. Little by little they start making their own decisions – being their own person, even! When did that happen?! One day you’re laying out their clothes for morning & making them whatever the hell you want for their school lunch. The next, they’re coming downstairs ready for the day with absolutely no help from you & eating whatever they hell they want.

She told her coach.

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The rest of my response goes on to say that she will now go on to rock Health Occupations – the shop she chose as her concentration at her technical high school. Another decision she made all on her own.

She will go on to make many more. Some I won’t agree with, I’m sure. Hell, I don’t entirely agree with this one. It took a lot for me to tell her I was proud of her for making a decision that was right for her when what I wanted to say was, “ARE YOU CRAZY?!? YOU’RE AN AMAZING SWIMMER! DON’T QUIT NOW!”

But as she approaches the second half of her teenage years, I have to hope I’ve done enough to prepare her for a life of making her own decisions.

Because they are no longer mine to make.

MomDay Monday – Trust is Overrated

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Me: “Leave your binder downstairs with your backpack. If you forget it, I’m not coming back home to get it for you.”

The Boy: “I want it upstairs with me in my room. I put it by my door so I remember it.”

The Boy has a binder that he brings all of his schoolwork home in. For some reason, he insisted on bringing it up to his room when he went to bed. Me, in all my wisdom, couldn’t resist the fight. If I want to remember something in the morning, I put it by the back door where I know I’ll see it when I leave in the morning. I just didn’t get his reasoning & thus the fight began.

With the final words, “Why can’t you just do what I ask? Why is everything such a fight with you?” I stormed out of the room & downstairs to make lunches. Muttering to myself, I heard someone on the stairs. I knew it was him. He will usually come downstairs for a hug if we have an argument. But this time, he just headed back up. When I left the kitchen, I saw his binder downstairs with his backpack.

And I immediately felt like shit.

The truth is… I don’t trust my kids. I always know best. ALWAYS.

And yet… I don’t.

They’re getting older, these two cherubs of mine. And sometimes they have ways of doing things that work better for them than anything I could have taught them.

They come home after school to an empty house. And in the hours before I get home, they do their homework & any chores that I’ve left them. The Girl gets ready for swim team practice. And judging by their posts on Instagram, they have some time to relax. All without my presence & constant interference.

They come downstairs in the morning & feed the pets, get themselves breakfast & get their things together. Again, with no input from me other than maybe making them a cup of tea & if they’re lucky, toast.

They are growing up & becoming capable of taking care of themselves. That’s how it’s supposed to go. That’s how I know I’m doing my job.

Maybe not trusting them to do the right thing is my way of holding on just a little bit longer. I realized recently that The Girl will be starting high school in a few short months, and then I will blink & she will be graduating. The Boy not far behind her.

I’ve always told them that my job is to teach them how to live on their own. And not just how to cook & clean, although God only knows those are not strengths that I can pass on readily. (Laundry. I’m really all about the laundry. I got that nailed.) Teaching them how to live on their own also means helping them be strong, independent, morally decent people; how to make choices that will help them lead happy, healthy lives.

Who knew it would start with a binder?

I mean, if I can’t trust him to make the right choice about where to keep his binder at night, how do I think he’s going to grow into that strong, independent, morally decent person? That person isn’t going to just appear out of nowhere after years of mommy doing everything & always being right. I can suggest what I think is best, but ultimately, he needs to learn from his own mistakes. If he puts the binder in his room & forgets it the next day… that’s a pretty tough lesson. That’s all of his homework & study notes. It’s going to be a long day without those.

I picked up his binder & crept back up the stairs & into his room. His sleepy eyes opened & he looked at me skeptically. “What are you doing?” he said.

I put the binder by his door, pulled his blankets up & gave him a kiss. “I’m sorry. If you want your binder up here & you have a system so you won’t forget it, I need to trust you with that.”

It’s time to step aside & let them make decisions for themselves.

But I’m still not coming back home for the binder.