I would like to begin this month’s post by thanking you profusely for being such a great traveller on our trip to Europe. You really were quite the trooper when we embarked on our various journeys each day. I know the whole experience was a positive one for you because you have been talking about the trip just about every day since. When it’s sharing day at school, you bring something from the trip to share with your class. Most recently, you had to create a project for school that could be about anything. You decided to create a book about Amsterdam. Everything from the food to the buildings to the people, I smile every time I hear you reminisce about our trip. Sure, I have my own memories but it’s wonderful to hear it from your perspective. Could seven really be the magic age for travel or does it only get better from here? Or worse??
When we returned home from our trip, you had just a handful of softball games remaining. You finished your first softball season on a high. I’m thrilled that you thoroughly enjoyed yourself despite my own feelings that you would hate it. You were by no means a stellar player but you remained somewhat engaged up until the end. One thing that really bothered me was often you sat in the dugout during innings. How your coach couldn’t find one spot in the outfield for you baffles me and perhaps that’s the competitive parent in me but for goodness sake, I just wanted you to play. That is why I signed you up for softball after all. I don’t think coaches consciously favor players but towards the end of the season, it certainly seemed that way but fortunately for you, you didn’t seem to mind and rather enjoyed yourself sitting in the dugout alone, cheering on the rest of your team.
The silver lining through this experience is you met a great group of girls that were the most encouraging group I have ever witnessed. When a fellow teammate caught a ball or got an out, everyone congratulated her in the middle of the game. Towards the end of the season, you were even given a chance to learn pitching and was able try your hand at a few pitches during the last few games. I’m proud of you for taking a chance and stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new. I’m glad that the actions of the coaches didn’t hinder your spirit. Although, if I caught any wind that it did, I would have had a few choice words. I know, sometimes I’m too protective for my own good. Your Dad was disappointed that during the awards ceremony, when your coach said a few nice words about each player as he presented each girl with her trophy, he instead spoke about your cheering squad (us) in the bleachers at each game. Really? This is your opportunity to talk about Olivia’s growth and you’re talking about how much her family cheered in the stands?! Ok, now I’m done ranting.
As softball wraps up, we now find ourselves in swim team season. Most parents have their favorite sport that they enjoy watching their children participate in. For Miles, I love watching him play baseball. For you, I love watching you swim. I’m telling you now that I’m working really really hard to not coach you this swim season but rather just be a supportive parent. This has been incredibly challenging for me because obviously, I know competitive swimming having been on a swim team for multiple years so it’s really difficult for me to sit back and watch you swim not to your fullest potential. You have a new head coach this year who prides herself on being someone who works very hard on technique which is everything to me. I’m confident that she can work her magic on you and teach you the love of the sport while I sit back and be the encouraging supportive parent you need. I’m not saying I will never again overstep my boundaries. Crap, just last night you were thrashing in the water because you didn’t want to do the swim set and I saw the lifeguard looking at your curiously, confused if you were in fact drowning. Behavior like that drives me batty so I said something to you. I didn’t want to but I did. See, I’m trying.
My main goal with you is to build your confidence. You’re so hard on yourself, freaking out when you make a mistake or get corrected by an adult. You don’t like to be wrong and you become quite timid if you’re unsure how to do something. Unfortunately, I see a lot of myself in you and I’m sad to say that it doesn’t really get any easier. I don’t want you to not try things out of fear of failure. In fact, failure shouldn’t be viewed as such a negative thing but to you, failure is humility. Failure is death. You don’t want to become so wrapped up in fear that suddenly you find yourself scared to try anything. There’s hope yet though because despite your fear of playing softball, you did it and surprised yourself with how much you loved it. I might be slightly biased because I’m your mother but I mean it when I say, you’re capable of anything. It sounds cliche and it sounds like something every parent says but from experience, no task is too big. You’re a kid and even though various happenings and encounters in your life seem like mountains, one day you’ll look back and think, that was nothing.
You recently had your first certificate test in piano where you had to memorize the C scale and two pieces without sheet music. You were so anxious that you refused to talk to anyone. Thankfully, I know how you handle pressure (you don’t) so I arranged to have your test first thing in the morning. You sat in the reception area, fumbling with your various piano books, barely able to acknowledge your piano teacher. The tester called you in and apprehensively, you walked slowly in. You emerged a short while later and walked right up to me and whispered in my ear, I passed. Your teacher asked what was the matter and you turned to her with a giant smile and very quietly announced that you passed. Your teacher looked at you with a rather curious expression and said, of course you passed! I wouldn’t let you test if I didn’t think you were capable. You see, my darling, whether you realize it or not, we all believe in you. You just have to believe in yourself.
You’re an intelligent, clever, caring, funny girl and I’m telling you, you are capable of anything. If you want to be the first female on the moon like you claim, well, get your ass out there and do it! Don’t ever let my emotional state stop you despite how much you see me cry. I will cry no matter what so don’t let that influence your decision. Point is, there will be a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t do something. Find the one reason why you should and put all that other junk aside. Fear can be crippling my dear but you’re bigger than it. Ok, enough with the after school special speech. Swim your little heart out and listen to your coach so I don’t have to come barking at you. Oh, and find the value in your mistakes. I, for one, have made more than my fair share. Your Dad? Way more than me. Just being honest.