Here is a picture of the crowd at the weekly “B Team” 7th grade, girls volleyball games. I know, pretty intense. I’m surprised you weren’t there. These games are at 4:15 and sometimes far away. Most of these girls have not touched a volleyball before the season started. These games are ahhh…you know…um..like watching someone trying to build an engine, with toothpicks, by hand, with their eyes closed. Unless you are me. Then these games are exciting. Like the Olympics.
Wowza! Do I ever like to watch my kids do stuff. Not sure what to make of that. Am I trying to live through them? Maybe. I always loved athletics, and in my mind I was very, very good. I just could never really get a lot of people to buy into that concept. I don’t want to say my high school coaches were completely incapable of recognizing real talent when they saw it, but I am carrying around some pretty potent raw material here. You be the judge.
I’m not the only one in the crazy parent fan club. There are a LOT of us. Last week one of my bleacher mom friends said that she read that a good test of your maturity (grip on competition), is whether you can carry on a conversation while your child is on the court/field/mat. Whaaat? Now, this mom IS a well-respected Pediatrician, but she has some pretty silly theories.
Some of my wrestling mom friends and I have found ourselves squeezed between the bleachers, curled up in the fetal position after our children are done wrestling. Maybe we were carrying on a conversation while this happened. Hard to remember. We blacked out. Last year at the wrestling state tournament, during one particularly tense moment, I tossed my beautiful smart phone into the air and it landed on the cement and cracked. Who does that? Crazy people. That’s who.
Now, I do know that some of these mature parents my Pediatrician Mom friend is talking about do exist. I’ve observed them. I can think of a couple of parents I know who are always at their children’s events. I’ve sat by them. They just make cheery chit chat all while their child is out on the mat/court/field, going for the gold. These parents are not even trying to be special. They just are. I’ve tried to copy them. I must say I’ve gotten better at it, until the stakes get higher. Then it’s cuckoo time!
What the heck is the big deal, anyway? Is my love for my children conditional? Does my love for them depend on their success? No. It really doesn’t. But, who isn’t a big fat liar liar pants on fire, who says their kids’ success isn’t somehow connected to their own pride? I’m not very smart, but one thing I know is that pride is nothing but trouble. People start wars. Families fall apart. Friendships die. All because of the “P” word.
I hate pride. I hate it! But resisting it is like resisting chewy chocolate chip cookies. They’re just so good. They taste harmless. But they aren’t. Trust me. Especially if you made them with grains.
So, what I’ve been trying to go for instead is humility. Not the “Wahh, wahh! I’m not pretty,” humility. That’s insecurity, which in my book is just another form of pride. I’m talking about the kind of humility that will set me free.
How fun would life be if my happiness and security did not depend on outside forces? I’m talking about the kind of humility that is like, “Wow, look at all those great kids out there on the mat/court/field, getting exercise and learning about teamwork and discipline. I’m happy for all of them. I feel fortunate that my child gets to be a part of something so positive. Whether or not my child succeeds has nothing to do with me, and is not a reflection on me. I’m rooting for everybody.” Yeah, that kind of humility. The impossible kind. It’s something to shoot for anyway.