Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wrestling with fear

Last night was the final night of M's wrestling camp. Poor thing, something about wrestling has scared her, and we can't for the life of us figure out what on earth it could be. A wailed 'EVERYTHING!" isn't helpful when we're trying to allay your fears...ha.

So, here's how yesterday went, all times are approximate:

3:40pm: I arrive at M's school, but the tournament isn't scheduled to start until 4pm, so I hang out and knit a little bit in my car before heading in.

3:45pm: I realize I should head in so I can get a good seat for pictures, so off I go.

3:47pm:I come across M's backpack in the middle of the hall, and her water bottle about 10 feet further down the hall...also in the middle. Everyone else's items are against the wall. This doesn't bode well, and my stomach starts doing flips.

3:48pm: I enter the gym, find a few of M's friends sitting on the bleachers, and don't see M among them. They tell me she's over on another part of the bleachers. My eyes scan the crowd, and finally find my sad little M, still in school clothes, alone on the bleachers.

3:49-4:05pm: She spends the majority of this time looking like these kids:

While I did my best not to freak out on her, as she'd promised us that she would finish this out. I at least was able to calm her down, and then Matt finally arrived shortly after she got calm.

4:06-sometime later, I stopped looking at the clock: Matt and I both "reason" with her, weather her pouts, shouts and general fit throwing actions. He reminds her that she'll have the following consequences, if she doesn't do this final tournament as agreed:
  • She will not be allowed to do softball, though she nearly peed herself she was so excited to do it this this spring
  • She will have to pay us back the non-refundable $85 fee for the softball she'd be losing out on
  • Matt would return the cool new skateboard game he bought, never to buy again
  • We would not go out for pizza that night
  • She would not be permitted to participate in after school sports again for a while

The majority of this time was spent with her declaring "I don't CARE!" and Matt trying to convince her that we knew she DID care, and would regret the choice of having to do chores for the next year or more to pay us back (not to mention we really didn't want to have to deal with following through on all those, though we absolutely would if needed).

5:30pmish: We get her back into the gym, near the mat, but sitting on the floor with us. Matt finally convinces M to eat a muffin I"d brought,

sips some water,

and WHOA NELLY, is this the same child? Suddenly she's out on the mat with the kids, like we'd been trying to convince her to do (this is not them, FYI):


6:00pmish (at this point I"m woozy and emotionally exhausted and beyond caring about what time it is): She goes to her coach with a huge grin on her face, and asks to be put in!

6:15pm: She's on the mat! WRESTLING! Everyone's cheering for her! She only scored one point, but had fun. The whole reason for doing it - FUN!

^^ This is WAY more intense than her and her partner were, they were focused on the fun end of knocking each other down :)

7:00pm: the kids get ribbons, medals and t-shirts (everyone got something, M got a 4th place ribbon and awesome t shirt), and we finally disperse for home.

7:30pm: We end up at Flying Pie pizza, stuffing our faces:

8:30pm: We're finally home, M's playing the new skateboarding game with Matt, and we're all smiles

Overall, a very successful night, as far as parenting, perseverance, and bravery are concerned. Small steps lead to big reward:

Felt good to end the day that way. We both told M over and over that not only were we proud of her in general, but we were SO proud that she was SO scared to go out there, and she had the courage to face her fear and just do it. She actually wrestled twice before it was over, and the second time she score 3 points to the other girl's 5! It was a good, close match, and she did a great job getting out of holds and shooting for her opponent's legs.

She's growing up, and while the meltdown was exhausting and horrific for me, I"m so happy to be married to Matt, a man with the patience of a rock, and the ability to talk reason in the most unreasonable of us females in his family. He is the reason she finally took that first step of taking off her shoes and going out on the mat. She took the initiative to ask her coach to put her in! If she'd just been sitting on the mat, they wouldn't have called her, because they made the list of kids earlier in the night.

All we asked was that she TRY - doesn't matter the outcome, but make the attempt to accomplish it. She finally did, and she doesn't regret one bit. Neither do I.

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