Two things that having children have taught me, is that I still have baggage that I carry around thirty plus years after it happened, and that a child truly is your heart walking outside of your body. But, having children has also taught me that it is the little things that will have you thinking, ‘Maybe I am not doing such a bad job after all.’
Today was such a day.
We went to basketball training today. It is hot in the arena. We loved it, the basketball, not the heat. The coach is a legend for all the right reasons.
During the ‘game’ my baggage presented itself. I was a chubby child. These days I would call myself ‘curvy’, but you can’t describe a little girl as ‘curvy’. During year one two little girls used to gossip about me and my chubbiness as we were passengers in who ever’s mum’s taxi. (The mums did a mum’ taxi club thing so all of our mothers had a turn in collecting the kids from school.) I vividly remember them being in the front seat together and being nasty (Please insert an American accent here.) I was the one left out… During year two I developed into a bully because of merciless teasing about my surname. (Rothman – which sounded a lot like Rottenmeier – the very strict governess in the Heidi story.) Children are children and will always have an eye for something that is different about someone.
During basketball training my little boy plays his heart out, runs his lungs out, cheers his team mates when they make a basket, but never gets thrown the ball. He does not understand the rules of the game yet and is just there to play and have fun. Some of the other kids are good at basketball – very good. They know the rules, they know the drills, they are faster and more experienced. Because they want to score, because they can, because it is just how it is… the do not pass the ball to him, even when he is open. Every time I see him open and not being passed the ball, my heart aches for my boy. But I keep sitting at the sidelines, keep silent, because this is not my fight, this is not my place. If it does not bother him, I can not put the monkey on his shoulders. He does not have the baggage his mum has. He loves being there and getting to know new people.
It was when practise was finished that my boy did something that made me stand still and think, ‘Wow, my boy, you got it.’ He is only 8 years old, he went to his coach, a 70 year old gentleman and he shook his hand and said, “Thank you.” (Not that the others did not say ‘thank you’.) This little man of mine, conducted himself like a man, and shook his coach’s hand. In the simple act of sticking out his hand, and thanking another person for the time spent teaching him something, my boy made me realise that I may just be doing something right. The coach acknowledged the fact that he was not passed the ball, giving him the advice to raise his arms and indicate that he wants the ball. (Will see if that works next time.)
I stayed quiet. It was not my place to say anything. It ís my place to raise a man who has good manners, who will treat his loved ones with dignity and respect. It ís my place to teach him to value others as he values himself. It ís my place to be there when he needs encouragement, wisdom and prayers.
It is certainly not my place to make my baggage his. (He will have enough of his own.)