The thought of the triathlon gave me anxiety, so I ignored it for the majority of the summer. Six days out I received an email from a parent at my son’s school whose child participated in the race last year. The detailed instructions and preparations encouraged me to accept the fact that this is happening and prepare myself….even though I wasn’t the one participating in the triathlon.
It was my eight year old. The laid back reading enthusiast is not particularly athletic or interested in sports, yet agreed to be in a relay team with his friend and take responsibility for the bike-riding portion of the event. As a mother, my goal is to support my children and find lessons in everyday activities. I was sure there were many opportunities for my boy to learn of perseverance, practice, patience and teamwork during the race.
Yet, I was panicked. Did he have the right kind of shoes and shorts? How would the relay work? How would the boys find each other in the crowds? Would he fall off his bike? Would he feel overwhelmed and cry? Would I?
My son surprised me with his calm attitude and only talked about winning.
I realistically and kindly explained he wasn’t going to win and explained the experience was for fun and a sense of knowing if you try you can accomplish anything.
He told me not to bring him down that he could win.
I kept my mouth shut even though I knew it wasn’t possible as we barely practiced this summer and sadly there always seems to be someone faster than him.
The morning arrived and we made it down to the foggy beach very early and coordinated with his partner to pass the band with the timing chip. He waited in the transition area ready to go.
Then he had to go to the bathroom. Twice.
We spent a long time waiting and watching the older kids confidently race through the course.
Finally it was his turn and he got on his bike and off he went. There was nothing I could do, but wait for him to return to the foggy finish line.
The race went off flawlessly with minimal hiccups and the boys enjoyed a prize of ice cream at the end.
As we mingled in relief that it was over, the loud speaker announced that my son’s team had come in second place for the 7-10 year old relay.
I was the one that learned the lessons: no need to stress and there is always a chance of winning.
What lessons have you learned from your children?
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- Check out my 2014 photo project How Quickly They Change.