Posted in A moms opinion, Aislyn

Letting my pre-teen deal with disappointment

This past weekend was one of those weekends that was jam packed with activity, life lessons and left my little family wrecked. Yet, at the same time it’s the kind of wrecked that ‘feels’ filling and satisfying even though all I want to do is lie down and sleep. I honestly don’t know how working/school going families do this. I can’t even imagine having to wake up on Monday morning and having to get straight back into normal life as if we have had the most restful weekend as we’re supposed to.

I think it’s made me realize why my parents made us sleep on a Sunday afternoon. Is that how you guys do it? I know I probably would if our lifestyle was different.

Anyway, I suppose you’re wondering what we got up to this past weekend that has us all in our chops, right? Ok, well let’s do this first. As you already know, our little unit is made up of Tim, Shaveh, Aislyn, Iraina and Jude. So let’s split this unit into two for this weekend shall we.

Tim, Iraina and Jude were together and then – Shaveh and Aislyn were together for the weekend. Added to this basic division (as most families do over sporting weekends – as I understand it) we were also hosting friends from the States, who we love being with and shared ourselves with over the three to four days.

The first part of our little tribe had to juggle ministry appointments, tracking at the studio, being with friends, carting between grandparents, riding the peninsula flat, shopping, braaiing up a feast and pretty much keep the two little people alive throughout it all. Tim was amazing to handle all of that and still come out on this side of the weekend breathing.

His amazingness allowed for me to be fully focused on being sport mom.

Aislyn and I went to her first Junior Championship Gala and it was a three day affair. It sounds simple enough, but getting to the meet venue one and a half hours before the start of 2-4 hour sessions – managing emotions and adrenaline rushes, incredibly exciting wins as well as heartbreaking disappointments. This all doesn’t feel tiring until you hit the pillow at the end of the weekend and realize that your voice is almost gone, your body aches from sitting and standing and sitting and standing over and over and over again.

Its one of those things that sound like they’re a complaint but it actually isn’t. I love supporting my kids when they do stuff and I will do it at 100% volume too. (even if an old lady tells you 6 times, “you’re going to damage your voice” – to which I responded politely, “thank you” – about turned and continued to shout for my kid! Like Hello!?!! Who cares about my voice when my kid needs to hear me, YO!) #rantover

Anyway, there are so many things that I’d love to write down and share with you about this weekend but for this post I’ll share one of my “mamma bear” learning moments – trust me there were many. This one involved my actual child.

Anyway, this is what happened. (back info to give context)

As a swimming parent – we all have to sign up to become timekeepers once our kids join the league so that there are always enough officials at a gala – or else the gala can’t happen. For those of you who haven’t ever been involved in league style swimming gala’s, the way that it’s run is that the kids swim in groups (heats) according to their speed or times for that specific race. So you can have a 15 year old swimming against a 10 year old who are the same speed in their races. But they get medals according to their age groups which gives them the bonus of earning a medal and yet at the same time get pushed by kids that are the same (if not better) speed than they are.

Ok – basic gala set up done.

So as a timekeeper – it is part of your responsibility to check if you have the correct child in your race. The “child” just goes where they are told at this point. Obviously when they get older – things change but at this level you can’t expect a 7 year old to know which heat, lane and timekeeper they’re supposed to report to, while being hyped on excitement – right? Right!

Anyway, so it’s like session 4 of the weekend – this would be Sunday morning. It’s been a long weekend and Aislyn is amped to swim her favourite stroke which is breast stroke. Off she goes to be put into the correct position and place by the competitor steward, who then sends her off to her lane.

At this point I have the camera ready and I’m excited for her because she wanted to really improve her time and see if she could do better.

I know which lane she’s in because the program shows me as much.

Camera poised, ready for action.

I look over and the whistle blows to start the race. Her timekeepers haven’t moved her forward……. They’re still checking her name. She’s shaking her head (TAKE YOUR MARKS) they’re looking at their information, asking her if this is her race, she’s shaking her head (GET SET) Guys! My heart is beating angrily fast now because these adults are messing my kid around! Her name IS on the sheet and that’s what they should be checking (BANG!! The race has started)

I look over at her coach, who has now gotten up and is moving over to where she is.

I’m torn! My kid now realizes that she’s missed her race and doesn’t know what to do. Her coach reaches her and takes her aside, finds out what has happened. (I am standing there in the team stands and all I want to do is run over and give those darn keepers a piece of my mind – but I know that her coach has it handled. I continue to watch Aislyn) As the coach is dealing with it, she’s burst into tears, is trying to hold herself together and her coach gently pats her shoulder while she tries to remedy the situation.

I give up, I briskly go over because I can see my kid is falling apart. (her coach is now at the admin table)

I lift her chin, and tell her, “it’s ok. You coach has got this!” give her a huge hug. Then her coach proceeds to say they have a slot for her in the next race and they’ll let her race.

I high five my kid and go back to where I’m supposed to be.

They line her up for the race and thereafter is then pulled out again – by the chief judge for the session – who clearly states that she’s missed her race and can’t swim.

I’ve just returned to my seat and see her walking back to me with her coach. She’s sipping in tears and breathing as best as she can to compose herself. Her coach let’s me know what’s happened and explains that that’s how it goes and that the chief judge has the final say at the end of the day.

I can see Aislyn is wobbly but has received and owned her massive disappointment gracefully. She sits down in front of me and I whisper in her ear, “sweetheart, yes this is so disappointing and it’s ok if you cry. But you need to own the moment and let’s learn from this one. I will check with you next time to make sure that you know which heat you’re meant to be in, so that you can be very sure where you’re meant to be.” She then says she’s sad and that she just needs some time to process it.

I decide – hanging over her would be the worst thing now as she’s dealing with it. I lean back and leave her be. (preteen/adolescent stuff yo!)

Then, just as we’ve all pulled ourselves together – her coach comes over and says they’re going to allow her to race because they’ve realized it was an admin error on their part. She then pulls herself together again and goes through to race.

The only bummer (as I explained before about times) is that she doesn’t get pushed by swimmers that are faster than she is to help her get a better time – so I whisper a prayer to pump some more adrenaline into her system to help her swim faster.

So, she’s sucked all of her emotions up and swims an amazing race – and she “looks” like she’s really improved – but meanwhile she’s just swimming against slower swimmers.

She finishes the race and improves her time by 1 complete second (that’s a big deal guys) and she’s still disappointed with herself when she gets back because of the whole palava.

It’s in this moment that all I want to do is just rant on to make her feel better that it isn’t her fault and that yes, the timekeepers should have done their job and she would have had a better race etc. But I thought, I’ll save that rant for later when I’m talking to actual adults and not my kid.

I couldn’t believe how “mamma bear-ish” I became in that moment. All I wanted to do was take all of her pain and deal with it myself – but nope, it was one of those moments that she needed to own, work it out and feel all the “feels” and move through it.

I did explain to her later in the evening – exactly what the process should have been and that we need to be better prepared for challenging moments that could potentially pop up like that one did.

To some of you, this might have been a minor issue – but when your kids’ heart is involved – watch out world, the dragon can prepare it’s self to be unleashed and sleigh any enemy that comes near their hurt or broken kid. I think this was a major lesson for me to walk through as well as Aislyn.

I absolutely need to start letting her work through her own “feels” as soon as she is able to so that I can rather coach her through them rather than remove them from her completely.

Well, there you have it – lesson learned! Shoo!


I'm a woman finding my way through life as the wife of Tim, the mom to 3 growing kids and trying to maintain some sort of self through it all. I hope you enjoy reading how I journey with my troops through this thing we call life.

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