Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Tough Soccer Night
It seems as if I quote The Adoption Counselor each time she blogs, but y'all, she really speaks to me.
My point was that I have learned that I don’t need to work as hard at parenting as I thought I did – my children’s paths were already laid out before they came to me – I couldn’t alter the paths, I could only try to remove a few stones for them. They had to alter their own paths in their own time in their own way. Or not.
This is kind of what disengaging looks like, in that we don't still maintain our initial, and very strong parental urges to constantly attempt to explain the world to them, to correct or re-direct behaviors that we know aren't productive, yet this correction is wrongly perceived as a hostile stance by them.
It's best if we just back off. We will not get our logical point across to them, we will only infuriate them by continuing to press the issue. Or we will have to learn the hard way that they will not back down. It will only escalate. They feel as if they have nothing to lose by literally fighting.
This was a very challenging concept for me to absorb. It feels like anti-parenting at times.
I can let so much go now, too, because I believe that very little of what I put into their lives has much impact on their outcomes – as long as I provide safety, stability, love, food, & shelter, then they will either outgrow the challenges or not.
I won’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about their outcomes – I resist the call of the systems to engage intensely in their lives and instead I give them room to just live their lives as they can.
I, too, have finally come to this point of comprehension.
Both of us also, right now, do not have violently, irrational and dangerous offenders in our home either, so our perspectives have changed. It is easier to disengage when one isn't fearing for one's lives or for the lives of others.
Those years for me were almost unbearable. There were many times I was deeply afraid I'd be murdered in my sleep, or worse yet, it would happen to a kid.
Nowadays I'd like to slow down the passing of time and to enjoy the years I have left with the dozen kids still at home, it's so much fun now literally. We are safe, and we treasure being safe. We rejoice in it. We don't get the rare smiles slapped off of our faces anymore.
Not so much last night though. The coach on the opposing soccer team had apparently coached his entire team to 'take that high-scoring Nando out.'
"Watch where Nando is running," he bellowed from the sidelines. "Get on Nando!"
Nando was tripped and pushed several times, and the ref, an older teenager was not noticing, parents were loudly protesting, yet I kept my own mouth shut. Nando is a tough kid, way tough, the youngest of 21 sons, he's played in some rough games before. He isn't afraid to play on a back field at the park with 20 something year old Spanish-speaking Mexicans from the trailer park.
The crowd let out a gasp and a roar of protest though when Nando finally got knocked into next week, crashing so hard on the ground that he'd hit his head, laying there in a crumpled heap, both of his coaches rushed to him, as did I, because he didn't get back up.
From an adjacent field, but not in an official game, Chuy too came running. Nando was crying, Nando doesn't cry in public.
And no, I did not, I do not run out onto the field, unless beckoned by the coach. Nando was hit so hard that he'd flown entirely off the field landing near the coaches bench.
I was absolutely outraged. The ref didn't red card the offender, the other parents were vocally protesting, but still I kept quiet, tending to Nando who let me snuggle him in public, his sweat, his snot and his tears all in my hair. The Staff brought him sacks of ice for his knee and forehead.
But really Buttwipe? I screamed inside myself, intending my silent words for the other coach, you wanna hurt my kid? I was furious on the inside, but still remained outwardly stoic. I do not like to make a scene. Sabrina, however, not so restrained, glaring murderously at the offenders. They really had crossed the line.
Within ten minutes Nando had recovered and barrelled back onto the field, yet I could tell he was wobbly and had little birds circling his head like a cartoon character. I'd reminded him, "Be mad at the ball, not the other players. Channel it."
"You OK?" I hollered onto the field, getting an affirmative, yet obviously tentative, nod in response. Within just a few minutes the ball got kicked hard, hitting him right in the face, nearly knocking his head off his neck. But that's a natural part of the game, not an on purpose maneuver.
After the game, several parents had decided to make an official protest to the park officials over very unnecessary roughness, an overly aggressive coach, and an incompetent ref. I still stayed quiet, I was checking Nando again. I was honestly worrying about a possible concussion.
Then unbelievably, two opposing team dads got into a shouting match that quickly escalated into threatening gestures. The crappy coach, a really large man, got between them. I was way out of harm's way, but I sent Tabby running to get Jesse, just in case, who was watching from across the field, surprise written all over his face. A what the heck? moment.
Nando's team tried rushing the field, but I stopped 'em. "Get those kids back over here," I barked at the two young coaches.
I was looking down the hill and out to the highway where I saw Deputy Kandy's blue lights flashing because she directs traffic after the 7 pm park exodus each evening. One of the combative dads works for the county. I was debating reaching for my cell to call Kandy.
He finally shut his mouth, walked off, and minutes later I noticed an email comment coming over my phone from Kandy telling me she wasn't there with the patrol car. Dang, had she read my mind?
I'm still glad I stayed out of it all, emotionally disengaging, my face impassive, like I've ever so slowly learned to do. That pissy coach tried to hurt my kid and I'm irrationally irked with him, surely would've lost my Christian witness had I opened my big mouth in anger, but really Dude, would you want your son treated so badly?
We will have to face them again in the tournament.
Parents were all checking on Nando, encouraging and complimenting him for his amazing abilities, but I doubt he heard a word, darkly angry, aggravation written all over his face. We then had another game to watch, the immensely entertaining U19 teams, and I didn't let Nando play on the next field with his buddies, as he usually does when other team games are going on.
I made him remain within about 25' of me. He came home and ate about five cartons of yogurts before bed as he usually does.
This morning he seemed fine and trotted off to school. I'm certain he and his friends'll be chattering about the badly behaved adults from last night.
I'm still glad I remained quiet, there was nothing to be gained by a mama explosion. But seriously, does Nando need county deputies to back him up in the tournament?
This has happened to Allen over the years as well. I know this is just sports. Guard and prevent the high scoring phenom from scoring. I get that. But don't hurt my kid. This is just a game.