I Survived Tryouts

For the past several days, I’ve experienced some strange symptoms. Heart thumping erratically. Shallow breathing. Feeling anxious. Yesterday, the symptoms grew more severe as the morning progressed. I couldn’t concentrate on my writing. My stomach was upset, my knees were weak, and if somebody looked closely, they could probably tell that my hands were shaking.

My symptoms peaked, then almost instantly dissipated at 10:36 a.m., as I watched my son and his buddy walking slowly from the high school soccer practice fields. I squinted my eyes, trying to make out the features of his face. He was talking to his friend in his usual animated way, and smiling. I immediately felt the knot in my stomach begin to loosen. As he approached my waiting van, he caught my eye and his grin grew wider. He swung open the door and said, “I made the team!”

FINALLY! I could breathe again.

My son is about to enter his freshman year of high school, and we just experienced high school soccer tryouts. I say “we” even though I’m certain my son had no idea that every single day of those tryouts I was out there on the field with him. I’m always on the field with him.

I’m sure many parents can relate to what I’m saying here, right? We’re on the field, or the court, or the stage with them—our kids.

My daughter has run with the high school cross country team for the past three years. When she (& the other runners) would pass me by at meets, I would clap loudly and shout encouraging words. As I watched their faces reflecting the extreme difficulty of the course, I’d literally have to suppress a ridiculous, almost overwhelming, urge to cry over how hard they were struggling, pushing themselves to run faster. Run harder.

I suspect (hope?!) I’m not alone in this strange phenomenon of “empathy parenting.” It’s not that we’re living vicariously through our children. It’s just that we…care so much. I know that whatever happens, whether they make the team or not, whether they come in first place or last, whether they screw up their lines or not, it’s what’s meant to be. They will have positive and negative experiences throughout their lives. And when bad stuff happens, they’ll eventually get over it. Learn from it. Move on. But when I’m in the moment… Heck, what can I say?

As much as my logical mind knows it’s ridiculous to become so caught up in their stuff, I can’t seem to stop it. All I know is, when they’re out there, I’m out there. But I guess if a parent can’t be their child’s biggest cheerleader, who can, right?


tina hammett said...

So true!! My oldest daughter has been on a competition cheerleading team that took states her last two years of middle school, This year she will be a freshmen and tried out for the High school cheerleading squad, with the same coach she's had for three years as one of the three judges, She was so sure she had it together, and after the 6 days of mom here having NO sleep at all plus her staying up till 2 and 3am trying to be perfect at all the moves and lifts -the big day comes, and as she beat me to the school doors to see if her name was on one of those papers,after standing in front of them for a few seconds,She looked back at me and said with a smile "Mom,I didn't make it,not even the JV squad that doesn't compete." She was heart broken as was I, my heart felt so weak and my knees buckled as I tried not to cry knowing she was disappointed. So as we were climbing back into the truck (on our way to her first softball game of the season...NO STRESS_HA)she says she can't wait till next year.I was so proud of her for being strong and handling it so well, I couldn't help myself and cried as I told her she was a great cheerleader and an even better daughter (and how the break might do us both some good). That's what makes it all well worth it. Now I am a freak when it comes to my childrens "stuff",The three of us go threw at least three try-outs a season each, So I do get into it a bit much as I have to have the banner on my lawn, weather it's the great job banner or the congratulations one, You really don't want me getting into the things I have the rest of my family endure during sports season. But I do agree that it is stressful for us parents also, I love the thank yous I get from my girls for being with them threw it all, weather they make it or not. It makes it all well worth the stress and sleepless nights. I wouldn't give it up for anything.

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

Thank you so much for following me, Holly! I'm following you now and look forward to reading more of your blog!

Wish I had time to right now, but gotta get the little one off to baby gym class :)

Theta Mom said...

That must be so tough as a parent. I remember freaking out over cheerleading try-outs as a kid and my mother said the experience was always harder on her! I'm not looking forward to that! It's too stressful! As moms, I think we will always be our kids' biggest fan!

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Your daughter sounds like an terrific young lady. What an awesome attitude! As tough as those bad times are, it's so gratifying to see our kids handle the disappointments life dishes out with such a positive attitude, isn't it? Thanks for the great comment!

Lisa Beth said...

I feel your pain (or anxiety?) My oldest is only three and even at his preschool program I found myself holding my breath hoping he would do a good job singing. In reality, he was one of the only one singing, but of course I didn't even notice until I watched the video when I got home. Crazy

Lisa Beth said...

I feel you pain (anxiety?) My oldest is only three and I feel myself holding my breath at events like his preschool program hoping that he'll sing nice, etc. In reality, he was one of the only ones singing but of course I didn't notice that until I watched the video at home! Crazy

Vanessa said...

Congrats to your son on making the team!!
I know when I was on the volleyball team there was my mom and my friends mom both yelling the loudest and throwing their pom-poms in the air. They were so happy to be there and to be cheering for us. At the time I remember telling my friend that I was never going to do that my kid and how embarassing that was, but now that I have two kids my mom will be handing me her pom-poms cause I'll be doing the same thing!