Why I Could Never Be An Olympic Parent
There’s a great commercial showing during the Olympic games.
I watch that and my heart catches in my throat and my eyes start to water. It’s a series of incredibly touching images. And it’s true, that no matter how old our children get, we’ll always see them as our babies.
It’s the image of the mom at the end of the commercial, though, that hits me the hardest now. She holds her breath as her son descends off the high dive. Her mouth is open, her eyes are bright, and then she smiles a huge smile as he finishes. I’ve been watching other moms during the Games, too. While watching the qualifying round for Women’s Gymnastics last night, I saw one mom calling out every move, showing her determination and knowledge of her daughter’s routine. Another mom was grasping the railing in front of her seat and alternately hiding her eyes and peeking out while her daughter performed.
All of these images of the mothers of Olympic athletes make me pretty sure there’s no way in the world I could ever be one of them.
Just last week, my eight-year-old son decided he was finally ready to take our town pool’s dive test, and I barely survived that. In order to use the diving boards, any child under age 10 must pass a dive test. They need to jump in off the side of the dive tank, swim one lap across, touch the wall, swim another lap back, and stop before touching that wall. Then they have to tread water, keeping their head entirely out of the water for a full minute.
I’ve mentioned before that my oldest just isn’t s very strong athlete. He does okay, but achieves most kid goals a few years behind his peers. Riding a bike and swimming were two of the biggest hurdles for him. While he’s had years and years of lessons, I think confidence has always been his greatest obstacle.
So when he told me that he was ready and wanted to take the dive test with his friend last week, I tried to hide my own panic. I knew he was ready for the swimming part, but he had never been able to tread water for the full minute before.
Knowing how he and I butt heads whenever I try to teach him anything myself, I let him go to practice with his friends. I sat there watching him, with my heart racing, and my hands shaking. The burn of sweat that prickled all over my body had nothing to do with the heat of the summer sun. My heart and mind battled over how I was handling this rite of passage. My brain was telling me to go over and coach him so he would have a fighting chance of passing. My heart knew that he needed to do this for himself and that I risked him shutting down if I hounded him too much.
Read the rest of this post at From Grind to Whine.
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