But really it's about realizing that you've raised this child and before your eyes, he's turned into a person, with all kinds of good his heart and potential to be this amazing adult.
My son, K, just made his high school's freshmen baseball team. Not the world's biggest accomplishment, but important to him.
I spent yesterday afternoon going through scenarios in my head of how to handle it if he came home from tryouts and said he didn't make it. It was a real possibility. There were 25 kids trying out for the freshmen team and they were only keeping 12 or 13. K's a catcher and there were two other catchers trying out. One of them has spent the last three or four years being a star. Advanced skills, playing with older kids, star of the All-Star team. The mom works at the school. Ahem. And the dad is a baseball know-it-all with a voice in every coach's ear within a 25 mile radius. That said - he's a NICE kid. Really nice kid.
But at this age, those stars from the 10-14 year olds start to become normal. Skills start to even out. Kids that took a little longer to develop are suddenly blooming. K and the Star caught a bullpen session side by side. The Star let some balls go by. K never let one go by. I'm not saying K's better, I'm saying that The Star isn't so much better than everyone else anymore.
What's really important though, is that as parents, we've taught K to work hard. We don't nag, we don't push - we aren't those kinds of sports parents. We've just let him learn the rewards of hard work. His last 5 coaches have all commented on his work ethic. He shows up, puts out 110% effort, works on his own to improve, and does anything the coach asks of him to the best of his ability. His club coach knows that if he has to put K into a fill-in position, K will give it his all, whether it's a position he plays or not.
Outcome? They put The Star up a level onto the JV team (most freshmen don't get to play JV until they are sophomores in this district). K made the freshmen team.
Turns out, his 7th grade school coach (who also mentored him through 8th grade) is an assistant coach for the high school. Something I didn't realize. But he knows K and his work ethic. I'm sure that helped.
What K has learned is that life isn't fair, but giving your all, doing your best, being the best you can be, will pay off in the long run. You may not make the team. There's plenty of teams he hasn't made. But you'll walk away with your head held high. And know you did everything to the best of your ability. What that's landed him, is a place on a club team with one of the greatest coaches I've been around in a long, long time. It may not be the best team around, but there will never be regrets for having played with this team. It also landed him straight A's his first semester of high school. And a place on the freshmen baseball team. Yay, K!!!
Yep, I'm a proud mama. And not just because my kid made the team. But because of the kind of kid he is.
Addendum REALITY CHECK:Picked the little shit up from his first practice. Seems the freshmen were told that they were going to have to paint the dugouts. They were also told they might want to wear old clothes. And that day might be yesterday if the weather held. But apparently my little angel didn't know what else he might wear so he didn't bother (you know, OLD clothes? Have we taught him NOTHING?). He also didn't think he'd want to change on the field (cause running to the bathroom was out of the question?) So he painted in $60 running shoes, an almost new $40 pair of baseball pants and a good workout shirt. And came home covered in green paint. On everything. That won't come out.
Proud mama, indeed.