Sometimes I Wish I Was the Sucky Parent

She sat in the front of the crowd, her fingers crossed. Some people smiled indulgently. My heart sank.

She was hoping to “win” something at soccer camp graduation. I knew it wasn’t to be. My daughter will never bend it like Beckham.

This is OK.
She is her mother’s daughter, after all. I fall over my own feet. While walking. In a straight line. On flat pavement.

And yet, she expressed interest in soccer camp, so we sent her. She deserved a chance to try.

She did. Sometimes. She came home from the first day bubbling over with stories and eager to show her new skills. But by day two I was hearing more about the chances to wear wacky clothes for Wednesday or create your own flag for Friday than I was about strikers and goalies. This was the daughter I knew, the arty type. 

I wasn’t disappointed. But that didn’t make it easier when she realized she wasn’t “good” at soccer. It was a moment I can’t take back, and one that had to be.

My pride in her didn’t save her face from falling on graduation day. It didn’t prevent the plodding home across the field and into the house. It didn’t keep her from crumpling into me, looking for solace.

I don’t want to shield my daughter from things lest she isn’t good at them. That would make me a sucky parent. But sometimes sucky seems so much easier!

There’s no “easy” way to teach our kids that there are some things they will not be good at. I reminded her of all the things she is good at, the places she excels, but the disappointment lingered … for a few hours anyway.

Soccer probably won’t be her game — although she’s signed up for the next season of AYSO, at her request, so who knows — but she’ll find her beat eventually. And my heart will break a thousand times along the way.

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