This week began soccer tryouts for my son – Luke- and field hockey tryouts for my daughter- Kamilla.  We are not sure there will be FH cuts but we know there will be soccer cuts.  They both worked hard on their conditioning. I had written earlier this summer about Luke who really is a bit lazy. At almost 14 he- like many other boys his age – would rather be playing on his phone or xbox etc. It took some coaxing and prodding and bribery by me to get him to begin conditioning for try-outs. To him they seemed so far away. To his dad and I they seemed right around the corner.

As luck would have it we found some cheap but good camps to send him to.  Then a 7v7 league to play on and also one on one training by a soccer coach from a local community college(who did not charge near what he should have- but was he a great teacher). So he was on his way to training to ready himself for at least a shot at making it.

On Wednesday Luke and my daughter began their tryouts. I drove Luke to his try-out in the afternoon and there were SO many boys there. He and I just looked at each other and said “oh wow” at the same time. I just said “go give it 100% – thats all you can do.”  As i pulled away part of my heart was left with him. I felt the angst he must have been feeling, and then there is the hope. Why do they have to have cuts? Well frankly bc 50 kids are not needed to field JV and Varsity teams. Someone has to go – it was obvious by just looking at all those boys on the field.

Today is day three and Luke will find out his fate. This morning Kevin and I woke up feeling nervous for Luke. We so want him to make it. We don’t want him to feel disappointed but I get that this could be the start of a number of things that let him down in his life. It will be a learning experience if he doesn’t make it and thats ok..our kids need these types of experiences. Up until this point he never tried out for a team- his private school didn’t have cuts for soccer and they had a great team. he knew basketball had cuts and he never tried out..was that bc there were cuts? I am not sure. It always bothered me that in his earlier soccer years all the kids got a trophies and medals for participating. Some time that would end and there would be trophies for the winner only. I wanted my kids to know that you don’t get rewards for just showing up- that to win at anything it takes hard work and even then sometimes things don’t work out- but in the end you know you tried.

In my kids private middle school they were lucky to have sports teams and they even attended the banquet at the end of the year for 6-12 grades. At that banquet there were three awards per team for middle school. Most Improved, Might in Spirit (it was a Christian school), and MVP. You might think mom here wanted the MVP- nope. The award I wanted for my kids was might in spirit. For me that was the one where the winner would have to show the most character. My kids did win a couple awards at those banquets. I remember one year my daughter saying “next year I want mighty in spirit'” that warmed my heart. To me character is the most important thing. So thankfully in Middle School my kids were introduced to the fact not everyone wins something for just showing up.

As much as we don’t want our kids to hurt – ever- we have to know that if we try to save them each time they might fail we are doing them a disservice. Some of the best lessons in life come from failures and hurts. I have a son with ADHD and he very often forgets to do his homework and if he does it he often forgets to turn it in. He does have some accommodation that gives him a grace day for this. But not a week! I guess I could micro-manage him and walk into his classroom to make sure he turned it in(embarrassing for him!) – or I could bother the teacher and give some excuse – but what am I teaching him? It kills me to see his grades drop bc he didn’t hand in a project or a paper. He is off the charts smart- it will drive a person to drink bc of the frustration one can feel watching a person that stinking bright sabotage themselves. But sometimes you just have to let happen- a glass of wine can help heal the pain as you watch it unfold. It is so hard- but it is a life lesson for them and and it is not about us….if they fail it does not mean we did something wrong.

I was among the soccer parents the other day- all of our kids trying out against the other- I saw the parents scanning the kids and I heard them chattering in their groups. “I hear all the boys from last year are for sure getting a spot” and “I heard that they are only taking 18 per team”..”I heard 22″ blah blah blah. I am not living vicariously through my kids.  I made sure long ago that I had my own things that i liked to do. If my kids were all about a sport we would try as best we could to facilitate them getting in that sport and to get as much training as we could afford. None of my kids asked to play a club sport- and if they had we would have tried to put them in if cash flow allowed it. But we let their desire drive it. I had my love- horse back riding.

Years ago I learned a valuable lesson. I put my daughter into riding lessons when she was six. She had been in an orphanage for over 4 years and where she was there wasn’t much chance for outdoor play. She did not have good muscle tone for six year old – she was weak. She needed something to make her stronger so we began with gymnastics but we soon learned that was not her thing. So I got her riding- and I began riding again then too. But I made the mistake of criticizing her too often and correcting her and making her feel bad (remember I  am not the same mom I once was). I was so picky and anal retentive..why? I don’t know. Anyway she was a good rider – really good- She even ribboned at shows.  But somewhere along the way she never developed the love for it that I had. Was it bc of me that she didn’t really love it? Maybe- or probably- at least some of it. It hurt when she quit- it was something i wanted to have with her and it just never happened. I held a grudge for a while. I regret that. But I learned. I learned that I have to let my kids find their own paths. I am here to help them forge the way but I cannot make them live the life i have dreamed up for them..they have to find it themselves. All I can do is love them along the way and help of they need me- but always love them.

Do I want my kids to make their teams? HECK yes! Will i be sad if they don’t? Yes – but only because they will be sad- but life will go on. Luke already has a pool party to go to for a band activity tonight (he is going to be a pioneer this year by playing trumpet in the resurrected marching band for their High School – it has been gone 18 years I think). So I imagine if he doesn’t make the team he will be ok when he sees his band friends.

I wouldn’t be a mom if I didn’t feel my kids pain or worry for them more than they worry for themselves. But I know when to step back and let things happen – well at least some of the time..and I hope i will know when to step in. I can be a  tough mama bear if needed- sometimes I growl at outsiders and sometimes I growl at my kids.  We can be crazy nuts when it come to our kids- and really it’s all bc of that four letter word called – LOVE…

Thanks for reading:)


The sea of kids trying out for soccer..Luke is in there somewhere!

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