Saturday, August 21, 2010

Take Another Little Piece of My Heart

My eclectic taste in music runs the gamut and after Charlie dropped his latest bomb on me, I found myself mentally replaying Janis Joplin's Take Another Little Piece of My Heart.  Nobody told me that parenting would be easy, but this has been an emotionally draining week.  We were transitioning from summer to school schedule, which means the Las Vegas-style honeymoon was coming to an end with earlier bedtimes, blaring alarm clocks, homework, packing lunches, backpacks and wearing "real" shoes rather than flip-flops and Crocs.  Not only was school just beginning, I was giddy with excitement because swim team try-outs were also being held this week.  Charlie has been swimming solo since he was three years old.  He breezed through the entire Red Cross certification program and, with private lessons from Melissa Cramer (an adorable Army ROTC Tulane graduate), was already working on lifeguarding techniques.  

I began swimming competitively in elementary school, continued through high school, and taught lessons and coached all through my college years.  I love the aroma of chlorine and, to this day, nothing provides serenity like coasting through the crystal clear water of a swimming pool.  The sensible side of my brain is aware that we, as parents, we shouldn't try to live our lives vicariously through our children, but my emotional side often interferes, making me appear to be one of Screwtape's most eager patients.  From the moment Charlie was born, I couldn't help but envision him as a swimmer.

We were discussing the week's schedule and I practically tripped over my words as I blurted out that we'd have to decide which day to try out for the swim team.  Charlie stormed out of the kitchen and I found him face-down, sobbing into his pillow.  "What's wrong?"  I inquire.  "If I told you, you'd be mad at me," Charlie replied.  "Well, unless you tell me what's wrong, how do you know that I'll be mad?"  I ask.  It takes a while, but Charlie finally composes himself enough to tell me, "Mom, swimming really isn't my thing."  Inhale, exhale...deep breaths...count to ten.  "But you're so good at it.  Why don't you want to at least try out?"  Charlie replies, "I can't explain it.  I just don't want to."

Well, there you have it folks.  He just doesn't want to.  Now I feel like sobbing into a pillow.  While I am proud that he feels comfortable enough to be candid with me, why am I having such a difficult time letting him be an individual?

I promise to back least temporarily.  Tennis anyone?

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