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When I Can’t Protect You

A quiet ride home from practice tells me everything. She cannot open up or it will spill out. It breaks my heart. I find myself peppering her with question after question. It is like I just can’t stop myself. I am desperately wanting to be her safe spot. I want to hold her while she cries her tears.

She holds firm and it is becoming clear to me. I cannot fix this. I cannot plow my way in and give her comfort. I must let her keep it here, in a secret spot of her head where no one knows her doubts but her. She must make this hurdle and grow inside. I must pepper her with tools of encouragement and success. I must be her biggest fan.

*   *   *

In the classroom they talk about the shooting that happened a few miles from our house. In our old neighborhood, a nice neighborhood. The shock of it still rippling through whispers and fear. Do I know you neighbor? Do I trust you?

He asks me if I am mad at him for talking about the shooting. With the heaviest of hearts and a sigh that escapes my lips, I explain my no. I’m hurt for him, for us. As he stands here talking about what he heard at school I am incredibly aware that he is growing up. That I can no longer shield him as fully as I have from the world. It’s hard. It is scary.

I want him to believe for one day longer that the good in the world far outweighs the bad. You can always find something good.

*  *  *

He comes home from men’s group and talks about the folly he sees in the idea that as a man you are the protector. He glances over his shoulder and sees clearly that Zach’s death humbled him in the hardest of ways.

Together we wrestle with wanting to be both protected and protector.

*   *   *

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Always. Here. From there.

Anywhere.

Always cheering for you.

With Love,

~ Me

 

I Heart Emotions & My Grandma

It was 9:00 p.m. on Friday night and in the middle of our bedtime routine, I very casually let my children know that Great Grandma was in the hospital. My timing and casualness were off and for a moment, I wish I had kept that to myself.  My little red head was immediately a mess as she battered me with questions.

“Mom, is she dying? Is she okay? Is she … ? When are we … ? What about … ?”

“Grace, sweetheart, no matter what happens I know Great Grandma will be okay.”

“How?”

“Because, she loves Jesus.”

Silence.

“And Great Grandpa? Does he love Jesus?”

“Yes.”

*   *   *

The next day I determined that after gymnastics we should hit the road with to my parent’s house. While I play cool and calm, I feel the turmoil that Grace wears on her sleeve. Grandma loves Jesus, but I love Grandma too. I want years, days, summers at the lakes and weddings to come with her. And while she recovers and is doing well, it is ever present in the changes around us that life is happening.

We are aging and changing.

 

 

Cartwheels and Beams

 

For two years Grace had been training as a Pre-Team member with our local gymnastics organization. She was devastated when she wasn’t extended an invite after one year of Pre-Team. In the second year, she found her groove. She carved a mental space to let it go and do what she could do. But still, it was a reserved space and during 2015 mom and dad worried. What if this dream… this maybe dream… evaporates? What if it is too much?

Then the call came.

Christmas break 2015 we got the call that would alter our dreams in a sure way. Grace was invited to Team! It was a dam breaking on so many levels. She tore down the last of the mental wall and showed up in way that surprised us all. It was as if the invitation was the permission she needed. The permission to be great. To go all out. January was the last month of Pre-Team and during that time the one coach who wasn’t sure Grace could handle the pressure and discipline of Team became her strongest supporter.

“THIS. This person needs to show up at Team!”

Grace beamed. She stood at the full 3 foot 11 inches that she is as a 9 year old girl. She gave her a hug and she’s never looked back.

*  *  *

We are 4 practices into our Team journey and finding our groove. Grace trains 12 hours a week for 4 hour increments with a 10 minute snack break. Mom (me) is 110% overwhelmed with the parent commitments and the juggle of tending to a little person with no body fat, sore achy muscles, epson salt baths and the school-missing-gymnast. I am scouring the internet for tasty protein snacks and revamping our food plans to account for this lean machine in my care. Balancing the different but just as important interests of my other not-so-intense-about-anything kiddos.

Last week for the first time ever, I taught math. Grace misses math and some writing each week. School was gracious enough to provide me with a copy of the teacher’s book. Her teacher communicates with me and I teach what Grace misses so that she doesn’t fall behind. It is intense. It is fun. The other kiddos are jealous that she gets mom as a teacher. That seems like a future post all its own – stay tuned – it won’t last 🙂

*   *   *

Cart wheels and beams. I’m taking a lesson from my gymnast and finding my way. Letting go of the peripheral and hanging on to my focus. Embracing what I’ve trained my mind and body to do… going for it.

We are all in for this journey.

Wherever it goes.

And maybe… just maybe… 2024..

 

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