He didn’t make the team. Three days of tryouts, drills, and tired bones. Three days of holding my breath every time he took the field. Optimism has turned to defeat.
And I can’t fix it.
When he was little, and broke his Thomas the Tank Engine train track, I fixed it. When he scraped his knee in the driveway, I fixed it. That’s what mom’s do. That’s our job. But not this time. This time, I’m paralyzed. I’m standing here, wanting to make it all okay, wanting to make his pain go away. And I can’t.
I saw the look on his face, as he walked up the front steps; head down, eyes red. He ran past me up to his room, while his father shook his head, “no” — and my heart sank.
He didn’t make the team.
I knew there was a lesson in here somewhere. I knew what I needed to tell him, what he needed to hear. I knew, in this moment, he didn’t need an “attaboy” for even trying, or a “better luck next time.” No, my son needed to know I was sad, too. He needed a few minutes alone, in his room, to process his feelings. He didn’t need me running up after him and giving him a hug, or telling him it would all be alright. Because it wasn’t.
He had the right to feel pain, to feel disappointed, angry, sad…he had a right to every one of those emotions. I knew once he took some time, he’d come down and we’d talk about it. And we did.
I told him that I was proud of him for putting himself out there – to try for something he was passionate about, even though he knew there were other kids on the team who’d played for years, who’d played on travel teams, and been to baseball camps. It was competitive. He didn’t make the cut. It happens in school, in sports, in life…sometimes you just don’t make the cut.
But the true test of character, is in the rising back up, every time you fall. It’s about never giving up, trying your best, knowing sometimes you won’t prevail, but trying anyway – with your whole heart.
And my kid has heart. So he’ll eventually shake this defeat off, as he’s done before. And he’ll rise. And he’ll do what he always does – work harder, practice, and never stop trying.
And I will continue to praise his successes, mentor and coach him through the obstacles, and accept that sometimes, I just can’t fix things. And that’s ok.