I know I said I wouldn’t do it. I said I wouldn’t get all pushy.
Ever since The Boy sobbed in my arms so bitterly disappointed that he’d NOT made it into the B team for Cricket (Bringing Up Boys: The Bitterness of Disappointement) I swore to myself that it would NEVER happen again. I felt so strongly for him but I couldn’t really make him see that the things you really want you have to fight for.
So in the Summer I was determined that by hook or by crook he’d make it into the Hockey B team come the Autumn. So he was made a member of the local Hockey Club, enrolled on a couple of hockey courses along with a whole host of other kids and dropped off to do it all by himself.
He was brilliant for I know I would have kicked up way more of a stink at his age. Didn’t seem to turn a hair and by all accounts loved it. I think the best thing about the courses was that parents weren’t allowed to hang around. I do remember the headmaster’s wife once saying to me that in another life she’d quite like to come back and run an orphanage. She explained: “The kids are wonderful; it’s the parents who are such a pain!”
Anyway, last Sunday when I stayed at home to work The Boy, Bog Boy – his younger brother – and Dad went off to Hockey Club. On their return I was told that The Boy had spent the last part of the training playing a hockey match but all he had done was wander up and down the pitch with his hockey stick over his shoulder and trotting after his father to see if he could play with his younger brother.
I blew a fuse.
I got so upset I had to sequester myself in my office and try to focus on work.
I was still angry on Monday morning.
How in the world could I get this boy to focus? To wake up! To understand!
Still mithering about it and snapping at the same time, I managed to get both boys in the car on the way to school and I kid you not I lectured the poor little souls for 20 minutes on the reasons why some people get chosen for teams and why some don’t.
“You have two people both equally good but one saunters up and down the pitch like Dolly Daydream and the other is out there really trying to get the ball, which one is the coach going to pick?”
“The one who is trying.”
Eureka! He’s got it! Yes!
“But Mum how will I know if I’ve been trying?”
How will he know he’s been trying? It dawned on me that he doesn’t know how to try because he’s never learned how. When you have absence seizures you blank a lot all the time only for a few seconds mind but imagine trying to concentrate through that. It would be like trying to work out the lyrics of a jumping record when you only get to hear it once. Concentration is impossible. Without concentration you will find it very difficult to try, because trying requires concentration.
Trying is something you learn, usually when you are very young and as you get older you can try harder because you can concentrate for longer and longer periods. Now that The Boy is on the proper medication for his epilepsy he is beginning to concentrate and so he can now start to try.
But my problem was to explain to him how to try in hockey. No good me telling him to concentrate he needed something more concrete than that.
“You’ll know if you tried hard enough by the fact that you will come back in really hot and sweaty.”
“What even on a cold day?”
“If you try really hard you won’t even feel the cold”
I collected him that afternoon and he glowed with happiness telling me he had come back in to change really hot and sweaty with his hair sticking up.
“I was playing defender with Freddie but then they let me do it on my own and even though there were five of them I still took the ball from them!”
“How did it make you feel?”
I was so proud but beginning to feel a tad uncomfortable. Perhaps he was only saying that so I would be pleased.
On Wednesday, it was hockey again, the last bit of training before the teams were chosen. Up until now I gathered that The Boy had been put in the bottom group for training. It looked like he’s be in the C team again and unlikely to get any Away fixture treats. But The Boy went out there determined to be seriously sweaty. I asked him if he had had a good time.
“It was great Mum!”
This morning he met up with a friend on the way into school and asked me if it was alright to check to see if he had made it onto the team while I put Bog Boy into his class. I cheerily waved him off but with great foreboding.
What if after all this he didn’t make it? What would I do with a sobbing little boy again?
I felt quietly sick as I trudged down the path.
He burst upon me just as I left his brother in the capable hands of his teacher. Flinging himself into my arms he announced to all and sundry he’d made it in to the B team. Oh it was brilliant. Now he could go on away matches, now he could play with his mates, now he belonged so much more. He was just so happy! I couldn’t have been more proud. He’d made that team on his own. “Trying” had worked.
….maybe being a pushy mother can help!