This isn’t just a blog about parenting my parents with Alzheimer’s and dementia, it is also about the other half of the sandwich – our three boys!
This week we face uncharted territory. Our middle son, John is a senior in high school and to date our boys are still e-learning. (Hopefully that changes next week, if the pandemic numbers stay steady.) That isn’t the uncharted part, we spent last spring, like everyone else remote learning. John has received calls from college wrestling coaches recruiting him. We have not experienced this with our older son. Now unchartered territory!
My husband came home from work early the other afternoon. He immediately asked me who John was on the phone with outside? Well that child is 18 and has a cell phone. I – parent of the year – neither knew he was on the phone or outside!! Unlike my spouse, I went outside and headed toward John. He gave me the thumbs up signal, so worries abated. Since John isn’t a big phone talker, my senses were peaked.
Ultimately, I sought John out and he was hesitant to share. I inquired how this coach heard of him. John and his older brother, Paul had traveled to an instate preseason tournament 3 weeks earlier and the coach had seen him wrestle. John was obviously perplexed by this, at that tournament he went 0-2. Why would this coach have any interest in him? Honestly, he is thinking this!
As the evening progressed, I continued to try to pull information regarding the 35 minute conversation out of my son – it might have been easier to get the oral surgeon who pulled his baby teeth out to help! That was a 5 day ordeal itself!!
A little back story. John followed in his brother’s footsteps and has wrestled since 1st grade. He worked hard but never saw the success he was looking for. Enter freshman year of high school. Only boys know what goes on in the locker room (THANK YOU JESUS), but something changed in John. He started working out incessantly. During that wrestling season he dropped 40lbs and transformed his body. He has never looked back. He loves his sport and is always seeking out more information to get better, whether it is watch videos, reading or practicing.
To this point, John has dreamed of college wrestling. Knowing that, I assumed he would be ecstatic and I was finding his reaction confusing. Being the mom I am, I probed. John tried to explain to me, he isn’t excited because “it won’t change what I do.” Process that. He is not guilty of pride. “Mom, I am looking for the why?”
Later that night, he was in his older brother’s room. My husband asked him if he had told him the exciting news. “Nope. Just another day.”
I laid there that night my thoughts whirling in my head. Is part of this because he doesn’t want to hurt his brother’s feelings, since he wasn’t recruited? Does he not want to share in case it doesn’t pan out? What if he isn’t good enough? What if he can’t do it?
As his mom, I wanted him to know my feelings. I am sure he wanted to know my feelings hehehehehehehe. I can feel each of you nodding your heads in the affirmative! I rolled over and grabbed my phone – perfect time for a text. Then he can read it over and over! Genius!
All joking aside, I shared with him how proud of him I am. How he alone made choices to change his life for the better regardless of if it would be easy. He faced multiple challenges and struggles. This is part of life. As his parents, we will always be here with emotional support and stand behind him. In closing I shared with him how excited I am to see what he does next and I love him. (FYI his version was 3 long paragraphs – lucky you!)
This is the second/third coach that has called him. We are headed to our first college visit next week – Covid and all! Our oldest son has yet to figure out what he wants to do, so this college visit is a first for us.
I am 53 years old and I am not sure what I want to do, still! When I went to college, I won’t mention how many times I changed my major. In life I have changed my career multiple times too. It seems there is a great expectation on our youth to know what they want to do before they get to college and explore. Have we, as a society taken away their time to be young and adventurous? Probably not!
Have any of your kiddos been recruited? Suggestions? Things to be aware of? Is John’s reaction to being recruited the norm? Have you seen this in your students? Any insight from veterans would be appreciated.
Thank you for reading!
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”George Bernard Shaw
I think our children are very lucky to have parents like us who look after them (even if you should ask them what they think about this!!)
But they feel a lot of pressure on them regarding their future.
Sometimes our attention instead of helping them pushes them shutting on themselves.
They fear won’t measure up.
We have to give them time to process the news, maybe on the one hand they want to go away from home and start a new adventure in college but on the other hand they are worried.
In my opinion we don’t have to rush them…
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I think you are correct- our children are lucky to have us! lol
On a more serious note you are correct as well, our well intended “helping/encouraging” does can cause my boys to shut down.
John and I traveled the night before the college visit, This allowed him to not worry about the physical trip and be ready and focused for the visit. Not every child needs this but I know he did. We went to a quiet dinner where I was able to give him a rundown of what to expect on the visit. This gave him the time to process. All went well. At the end of the visit, the coach asked John, “When do you think you will make a decision?”
“When it feels right.” John responded. I think that is my new motto.