Friday, August 11, 2017

An Athlete's Mom

I have a son, my eldest, who has embraced the sport of Triathlon with a big heart and bigger dreams tucked in it. Pre National Team membership, he started doing the sport 'because the rest of the family was doing it.' Really, we had no idea the consistent training and fun racing would eventually lead him to what he is doing now.

Just like any other thing, I suppose you are never really prepared for what is in store for you. Or you never really comprehend what is to be expected until you are right in the middle of it- living and breathing it.

Parenting an elite teenage athlete is heartbreaking to say the least.

The teenage years are a period in the life of a child where they tread through rough waters and go through experiences they would rather not have to deal with but have to. Cap that off with pressure, expectations and a high demand for focus on the sport. If not handled properly, this could be the perfect recipe for disaster.

This was a first for all of us so again, we had no idea what to expect. As the days went by I started to slowly get a grasp of what we were in for.

There'd be days I could see it in his eyes. He wanted out. He was ready to throw in the towel. And deep inside me I was torn between telling him to keep fighting or giving in to what he seemed to want at that very moment - to give up. What? What do I say to a 15 year old kid who just wanted to be a 'normal teenager' stuck busily snap chatting or playing on line games versus hard sessions in the pool inhaling the chlorine or burning his tires on the road and pedaling hard. There would be days, good days when he would cross the finish line strong and would tell me he loved his sport. What should I say? Congratulations you're the best or keep working hard for more of days like this one?

And then I was faced with the 'letting go' part. It is something I still have not fully embraced and I think I never will. There would be days or even weeks when he would have to be gone from home. Off to a training camp miles away or across the ocean to some other country. Every time I would see him off, all I could see was an image of him when he was 6months old. How could I let this baby go? Fly out alone and pretend I would not think of him for the next 2 weeks while he was away??

But everyday, I am grateful. No one thought this possible but God gave it to us.

Everyday we are learning trying to journey with our son. We struggle and we often fail but we always get up together. On painful days, I try to put up a brave front. When I am alone, just like now, I cry. I pray. I never cease to pray because Gods grace is all I can ever depend on to get us through each day.

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