Christian. BoyMom. Farmer's Wife. Marathon Runner. Ag Professional. Bourbon Lover.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Tunis Sheep Hampshires heed
12/11/2018 5 Comments
Wrestling Weekends: We let him cry.
It was nearing 4:00 p.m. He’d been in his singlet since before 7:00 that morning. He walked back across the mat to his line, bent down to take off his ankle band.
As he straightened up, he glanced over at the scoreboard, to confirm what he already knew. From my stance on the side of the gym, I could see his shoulders shudder, a breath drawn into his chest and held tightly. He quickly shook his opponent’s hand, the one who would leave with the medal he himself had been working for all day.
He walked towards the other coach, and his shoulders shook again. This time though, he couldn’t hold his breath in his chest and it shook his body when it came out.
Before he even turned to come back to his coach, I could tell he was crying. His whole body was silently crying. He went to his coach. He listened. He nodded. But he couldn’t stop the free flow of tears down his face.
I had a flashback to a few years prior, when I overheard a Dad kindly, and lovingly tell his son, “You can lose. You can be frustrated, even mad. But you cannot cry.”
My heart felt clenched by a fist. My mind raced. He would come to me next. He would leave his coach and come to me. I had to do this right. I wanted to hug him,hold him, tell him we would go home and watch movies and it would be OK. I wanted to take away his hurt.
But I wanted to do this right. His Dad, always measured, said over my shoulder, “He’ll be fine.”
He started across the mat, and in a moment of clarity I realized, he was experiencing something he needed to.
He wasn’t having a meltdown. He wasn’t crying tears in a fit. He wasn’t “being a baby”.
He was experiencing loss. And in a world where many will live their entire lives, never putting enough on the line to cry if they lose it, I was proud of him.
After weeks of hard work, focus, and determination, his 60 pound, seven year old body was feeling loss, hard and brutal.
And on that Sunday, in that gym, we let him cry.
I don’t know if it was right. That’s the thing about parenting, we don’t ever really know if we are doing it right.
But in a time when kids are given trophies for losing, told “good job” for barely showing up, and insulated from facing hurt and disappointment, he had stepped up to a line where he knew he risked losing it all and went after it anyway.
And he failed. And it sucked. And he was crying. And we were proud.
And next week he’ll step up again.
12/11/2018 08:19:03 pm
I was in tears reading this because I know that feeling and it’s so hard to be a good parent and let them feel “bad” emotions. He will remember those lessons and moments the rest of his life. Well written Kate!
12/12/2018 06:20:11 am
Great read. You are absolutely correct by understanding the difference of crying from “ being a baby” vs what I call “ competitive tears” Sometimes those tears show us they understand competition all while knowing it’s building a future foundation inside for the young individual to grow on . I’d rather see that anyday vs the kids throwing his head gear and hands up, yelling at the ref/coach, making excuses...Nobody but the individual competing truly knows if they are giving 100%. We as parents know when our kids are letting up or aren’t giving their full potential. It’s important for parents not to be upset when their expectations out weigh a child ability. All kids mature at different levels .Nothing wrong with being upset from pouring everything you had into a match only to fall short. It’s a life lesson to the kids letting them know that life will be a fight and won’t always be the results you set out for. It’s the way they respond from that loss that says a lot about their character and small snapshot of the individual to come.
12/12/2018 06:45:16 pm
Oh, Kate, I was crying before I even got to the end! You and Matt are great parents, and he will "be fine"! Valuable life lessons will make him a very strong young man. Your writing & ability to tell a story is simply wonderful. Thanks for sharing. 💞
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Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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