Tim had his second hockey practice today. No, I don't have pictures.
Before you all die of shock - I figure with 1 practice a week until April there will be approximately 25 more opportunities to get identical pictures of him flailing around on the ice with a stick, Hockey equipment, and the "help me, mom!!" terror in his eyes.
Unfortunately, the first 2 practices haven't been extremely joyous occasions. Garnet and I have come to the conclusion that our child will not be the next Gretzky - and he is definitely not a natural....but he hasn't given up yet. And for that, he's a star.
The first week - I forgot to get his skates sharpened and the equipment was a little sloppy. He was right in between the sizes and seeing him on the ice just proved our inclination that we should have got the smaller size. So we did right after practice. This week went a fraction of a bit better.
So far, both weeks have climaxed with him in a ball, crying and kicking on the ice. He gets a drink, a few encouraging words and is back out there to try his best. The last half he has fun and gets into it, after practice and throughout the week he's excited about the next practice -- but the first half an hour is wrenching my heart out.
It's been one of the hardest moments for me as a mother to see him frustrated and trying to encourage him to keep going. Every ounce of me wants to pick him up, take him far away from the arena and tell him everything's fine and he never has to hurt again. But life isn't like that. He's going to hurt, he's going to fail, he's going to have hard times and he needs to know that he can pull through - on his own - and keep going. I'm there when it's over to have our Tim Horton's date and a big hug -- but he's on his own on the ice.
But how do parents do it right? How do I show my child that I believe in him, to stay strong in hard times, to not give up, persevere through the obstacles, to not quit.....but also show him that I love him and I am here for him when he needs me?
I want him to experience life - and all that comes with it. I want him to have all the opportunities that I wasn't able to have, to see things and learn things about himself, to see all that he is capable of achieving.
I want him to try things even if there's a chance that he might fail -- and to see how easy it is to get up and try again. I want him to amaze himself by his talents...even if he doesn't succeed the first time.
I want him to have what I still struggle with today...strength and confidence.
But every bone in my body wants to protect him from ever learning it all the hard way. So I bite my tongue, hold back tears, tell him I love him and I believe in him....and send him back out.
Just wait, Tim.
Wait til your first love breaks your heart.
Wait til your best friend backstabs.
Wait til you don't get the job.
Wait til someone you love never comes back.
Wait til life really hits you hard and knocks you down....and you don't think you'll ever get back up.
Somewhere -- you'll find the strength to open your eyes and stand up...even though it hurts so bad. And you'll wonder how you ever made it through, how you ever kept living. Just wait, Tim......soon baby, this right now, won't feel so bad.
Next week - there will be pictures.