Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dirt: Gotta brag

My daughter's swim banquet was last night. A tear was brought to my eye when it dawned on me that this was her last season as a middle school swimmer. Her lovely coach had kind words to say about her, including that she could be a real asset to the varsity team next year if she chooses to swim. 
That was a button poppin' moment. She rocked the championship and scored a fair amount of points for her team, taking almost a full minute off her 500, which is a lot in swimming.

8th graders

22 girls tried to sit around this table...that's team work

She was part of a super badass team that truly brought it. 22 girls who swam their finest all season and improved up until the very last race, outscoring their rival by over 200 points and the combined boys and girls team by over 100.  Last night we celebrated all those sweet girls aged 11-14.
 It was fun and very sweet and a little eye opening.

My husband and I sat with four other girl's parents and listened as they all complained about their daughters not talking to them anymore about anything. I was really surprised. There was a lot of " my kid never tells me anything" and "sometimes she forgets who we are and slips up and talks to us". I did not join in. My kids are pretty chatty with me. One is a little less, but if I pay attention, I know what is going on with her and most of her friends. In addition, these were "cool" parents who I know are understanding with their daughters.

The struggle within me it to stop trying to solve their problems as I did when they were little. My experience has led me to realize that if I keep my mouth shut and don't judge, I hear a lot more.  As someone who in her late teens realized her parents were there to help, I resolved to be like them. My step mom was the best at listening and keeping a straight face. I try to do the same. 

I have already had some pretty frank conversations with both daughters. No topic is off limits, even if it makes me uncomfortable.  The reality is that girls need adult female  supervision and examples, especially as they are becoming adults themselves. Leonard Sax talks about this in his book Girls On the Edge.  Dr. Sax suggests that teenage girls need a few close girlfriends, their mother and one or two adult women to guide them to adulthood. I am fortunate that my daughters are close to my sisters in addition to a few of the mothers of their peers.  We have limited the media in their lives, even recently cutting back on their iPad and laptop time. The reason being kids and especially girls want "the answers" and going to the internet is like going to someone's older sister who is very worldly and has no filter.

As a mom, I try to engage my girls in conversation and share my own life with them. They know my daily  struggles including trying to find my place in service to God, what I am feeling insecure about,  if I have cramps, which relationship is causing me strife, how I am struggling to workout, etc. I want them to see that the things they deal with right now are always going to be in their lives.

Coach LaRochelle

I hope the other parents were exaggerating  and were doing the things parents do in order to not seem like they are bragging about their kids. These are the best and brightest girls I know and it would be such a misfortune if their parents are missing that aspect of their lives.  Vice versa, the girls truly will be missing out if they don't allow their amazing parents to share their daily ups and downs.

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