You know how you just never know with your kids? Like…some days they’re awesome and some days they’re…not. And you just never know. This means preparing is just basically an act of dreams with the best intentions but it just never pans out EVER how you expect it to.
And lets be honest…most of the time you’re negatively surprised. Like – your kids do something you were not expecting – and not in a good way. Do they surprise you at dinner and strike up a polite conversation with the server about GMO products and the state of nutrition in our schools? No. Do they throw their plate across the room knocking out an elderly women enjoying some Tomato Bisque? YES.
With pushing our kids to go further or do more in athletics…I play it easy. I start from day one assuming they’ll be like I was as a kid. EXACTLY INTERESTED IN NOTHING ATHLETIC. My Dad learned to coach soccer because it was a new sport and they just trained anyone willing so my Dad took up the mantle. He did it for several years and I don’t think I ever once did NOT beg to sit out during a quarter. At AYSO you HAD to play 2 quarters. Those were the RULES. But me? I thought that was ridiculously unfair. A WHOLE HALF OF A GAME? Do you realize how TIRING that is? Especially when you played with my technique which was standing around giggling with other girls and paying attention to nothing. THAT METHOD IS EXHAUSTING.
So…I assume from day one that’s what my kids will be like. But – of course – they aren’t. E was more like me than the other two, but even he was more aggressive and faster than I was. He just didn’t like sports that much. Nikki, of course, has turned out to be overly competitive and aggressive and a BEAST. Wes is somewhere in the middle.
Each game/competition I try different strategies in trying to encourage them to do their best. Most of the time in involves me screaming bloody murder for them the entire time.
WOOOO! WES! YOU ARE AWESOME! WAY TO HUSTLE! KEEP GOING! DON’T GIVE UP! YOU ARE AWESOME! WOOOOOO!
(That is not an exaggeration. That is actually verbatim.)
This summer we let Nikki run the Tuesday night 1-mile Cross Country runs through the Huntsville track club. I ran the first night with her as it’s through the trails and she’d never run trails before. She did pretty well. I think I ran the second week with her too. But at some point early in the summer? She asked me to LEAVE HER THE HELL ALONE. She wanted Donnie and I just to wait at the finish line for her. I was a little concerned because it is a bit chaotic and you do have to pay attention and not miss a turn out there, but I gave her the freedom she wanted and do you know what she did?
She ran faster than she ever did with us.
OF COURSE SHE DID. Because it was the last thing I was expecting.
Now…Wes has never had the drive to run that Nikki has. He’s “run” several one-milers that usually end with me carrying him or begging him to walk and not stop. He doesn’t hate it like I did as a kid, but he doesn’t love it like his sister.
Yesterday was the Annual Fun Run event Huntsville has. Nikki won a medal in her age group for the 1-mile last year so we’ve been coaching her this year because we knew the competition would be a lot tougher. Wes? We just figured he and I would walk it and it would require a lot of begging from me like it ALWAYS DOES.
I started out with him and I think this is the key that made the difference: A friend introduced Wes to her son and he was going to run with us. I think THAT made all the difference. Because, y’all? HE RAN THE WHOLE THING. The only reason he stopped/slowed down periodically was to make sure me and the other little boy were behind us. He finished at 11:15 which BLEW MY MIND. Not only did he run the whole thing, but he just did it so easily. Like, whatevs…I’m just running a mile. NBD. He’s NEVER been like that about running ANY of the 1-mile fun runs we’ve ever done before. It was CRAZY AWESOME. And basically he did it all by himself because I didn’t want to run and was just jogging/walking with our friend. And this is the kid who needs me by his side for EVERYTHING. And he just ditched me! And ran a mile! Like it was his plan all along.
Kids, man. They’re just there to screw with your brain on a daily basis.
These kids. They just blow my mind every day. I knew Nikki could run faster, but 8:30? And I’ll just be honest. I never – in a million years – would have guessed Wes could run an entire mile by himself…without stopping. Who was the kid? And he was just so cool about it. And kept checking on us like, “Oh…well…I would sprint ahead but I should keep an eye out on my Mom.”
They’re just amazing. And I don’t know why I’m still surprised. My oldest is about to be an adult and he still keeps surprising me every day. WHY AM I STILL ALLOWING MYSELF TO BE SURPRISED?
Because I’m a parent and we have to always mentally prepare ourselves for the outcome we expect. That’s how we try to maintain order in our lives. Which means it our kid’s jobs to constantly make us look like idiots who don’t know our own children.
Either way. I’m totally proud. They rocked my socks.