Back at the scene of the crime. Last week my fella had an almost head on collision with the diving board. It was an inward dive. That means he jumps out but performs the dive back over the board. (Or Something like that). He twisted and turned at the last a minute so that he didn’t do a Louganis. Instead his legs caught the board behind the knee, slammed his calves into the board bruising some muscles-tendons ow whatever and scraped the skin off as he careened into the water.
Being the award winning mom that I am I tried to get him to march right back down there and do it again the night he got hurt. He refrained from asking me if I was crazy–barley. My theory was that if he didn’t do it again RIGHT AWAY he would forever be afraid. He declined. Guess he was having trouble walking and seeing straight due to slamming his head into the water. My offer of giving him a piggy back ride back down to the board was not accepted well. Nor was my insistence that he had to do it again.
In the end I let him slide in the actual dive. I did talk about it–a lot. “Athletes get hurt”, “can’t let fear get in your way”, “practice harder now” and “your team is counting on you”…I pulled out the entire swim mom repertoire of lectures. He wasn’t inspired. He spent the car ride trying not to cry…or to ignore me…not sure which. At that point I am not sure which hurt worse: his pride, his legs or his ears from listening to me.
Next practice I started right back up with the importance of facing his fears. I told him he had to walk right in there and DO THE DIVE. He was nodding but it was that nod he gives me when he wants me to shut up and has no intention of doing as he’s told. I am wise to the absent-minded-boy-nod now. So I turned into caring, sensitive mom and asked, “are you nervous?” Because that is surely the only reason I would get the I am telling you yes ut I really mean no nod. Surely.
I must have asked one too many times because he finally exploded,” I wasn’t nervous until you keep asking me if I am nervous! Now I am nervous!” He stuck out his hand to ward of my “put your nervous energy to good use” lecture. “I’ll do it mom. I’ll do the dive.” It was his tone more than his words that shut me up.
I didn’t go in with him that night. I sent his dad. With instructions—lot of instructions. Make him do it, don’t lecture him if it’s not good, being him home if he’s hurting, don’t let him wuss out and give up early though and the ever present reminder that his team was counting on him. They reported back that he did fine. Umm humm. Fine is not what I wanted to hear.
Tonight I am back. Of course tonight of all nights I was late. (Who am I kidding-I am always late). I had to work. He didn’t get to practice on time-in fact he was 30 minutes late. That alone had him tense. The year rounders or the Incredibles! (as I like to call them) were practicing at the same time. Strike 2. There is a big meet Saturday that he knows he has to step up his game for. Therefore there was already pressure. Even without the nerves. Strike 3.
I have to give him credit. He’s working. He’s trying. He’s diving. But….he’s yet to do an inward. He’s not doing the dive that hurt him.
And I have nothing. My mom lecture library is empty. Because as I was watching him I was working on my speech. But midway I realized that I don’t do things I am afraid of. I don’t get right back up on the board so to speak. Like him, I don’t quit but I do avoid, at all cost, things that hurt me. I am a lot of things but hypocrite isn’t one of them. So…no speech tonight. I won’t lecture or talk or even offer a pep talk. I’ll let him be.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll do something that scares me. Maybe. And if I do than maybe I’ll talk to him or maybe I won’t. Maybe he will have to heal from this on his own. Maybe sometimes you have to decide-on your own-to get back up or back out there. Maybe you have to channel your inner Louganis and find your own triumph after tragedy. And maybe, just maybe, he needs to give me the lecture about getting back up to so what scares me.