Big Bro T was born early and it never phased him! He was in the NICU and received excellent care and he spent years with respiratory issues and he just rolled with it. He got sick more often than most kids and he just took it in stride. Big Bro T is the kid that loves to be home hanging out instead of out seeing the latest movie or going somewhere. He is the kid that loves to be back at the Disney hotel ordering room service for the night instead of staying out to see the fireworks. He is the kid who loved to ride in the car and say “what beautiful trees mommy”. He is the kid that plays with anyone who happens to be outside, no matter the age. He will also talk your ear off about Star Wars or Mine Craft but he’ll also notice your new haircut or if you rearranged the pictures on the mantle. He will share his field trip souvenir money with a fellow classmate that didn’t bring any or didn’t have enough for what they wanted.
He is kind and he is happy. Period. His former soccer coach called me at home to tell me that if I wanted him to play in the Spring Season I’d have to work on making him more aggressive. He can’t stop and help the kid from the other team who fell down. He can’t concern himself with others; he had to increase his aggression. He did not play in the Spring.
Big Bro T is now 9 and is beginning to deal with the reality that participation is not a guarantee at school. In early elementary years he has been happy to be in the “background” of the Christmas musical and never have a solo. He has not realized that he never has any candid photos in the yearbook. He did get to be Jesus in last year’s class Chapel and he was awesome (says his proud mom). But he took the part because his teacher assigned him to do it- he follows directions.
This year begins the grade where you apply for different school positions or are recommended for participation in special programs. His sister has also started in the preschool on his campus and my attention is now a bit divided so I may have missed the memo that he is on the “bid kid” side of the elementary years now.
He started asking me to check the mail, that he was expecting a letter from school. Apparently there is a program that his grade is now eligible to participate in but it is based on test scores, teacher recommendation and “personality” and he REALLY wanted to be a part of it. It is a team of kids that compete against other schools in the area of robotics- and Big Bro T loves this kind of stuff. I overheard parents talking about it and saying their kids were not picked due to not being “competitive minded” enough……..UH OH! So we checked the mail for 3 days……and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I already knew the kids that made it had already received their letters.
So after checking the mail last night I finally told him that I don’t think he was selected. He was crushed. He couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t be chosen since he is a good student and really interested in robotics. I told him that if this is something he really wants to do, he needs to meet with the teacher and find out what he needs to do to be prepared for next year. And then the watery eyes came…….
So as I wiped the tears he was trying to not let fall, I had to tell him- he needed to know- Life isn’t always about being happy and kind. If you want this, then put yourself out there and make it known that you can handle the pressure of competing against other kids. Approach the teacher and ask for her insight into what you can do to be a stronger presence. If you have to wait a year because you missed it this time, then use that time to build up their confidence in you as a strong team member. Do the work.
My heart broke for my sweet boy who is now going to begin to see that life will begin to take on new perspectives. But the reality is- if you want something, you go after it and you improve yourself if needed to achieve your goals. I never want him to lose his compassion for others or his “comfortable in his own skin” personality. But I also want him to feel the success of taking on a challenge and stepping up to the plate to tackle it head on. And there is pride to be had in that.
So as Dad dropped him off at school today he said Big Bro T made a bee line for the teacher he needed to talk to.
I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I’ll always be there to wipe the tears he doesn’t want to let fall…..whether they are tears of defeat or the tears of joy at overcoming a challenge.