Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sometimes Holding Them Has To Be Enough

You are strong
You are smart
You are incredibly beautiful

I probably won’t have a chance to talk to you before the game and there were a few things I wanted to say.

Today is bittersweet. It will probably be the last time I get to watch you play high school hockey which is something I have enjoyed very much. But I think after that game, you will also be free of a lot of stress, aggravation and pressure, none of which you deserve.

You have done your best and indeed more than could be asked for in difficult circumstances to resolve the situation, for the good of all on the team. You appear to have brought coaches around and it is unfortunate they lack the experience to make the changes in the team environment to make continuing to play worthwhile.

So go out today and play your heart out. Enjoy yourself and let your spirit soar.

I am so incredibly proud of you, words simply cannot express it.

Love always…


Writing this tore me up!

Today, well the past few days really have been hard. Actually as a parent, they have really sucked. As a parent, you hate to see your kids hurting, for any reason. By hurting, in this case I mean emotionally, although the physical kind is just as bad. You especially hate seeing them hurting when it is not something they have really been responsible for or to any great extent, brought upon themselves.

I won’t go into the details (at least not too much), but Mallory, my oldest really enjoys, loves even based on her reflective post on her Tumblr page playing field hockey. She is certainly not a star player, and holds no illusions to that effect. But she does enjoy it. Heck, Mallory enjoys most any sport where there is some opportunity for social interaction. One of the things I love seeing when she goes to games is here catching up – hugging, chatting – all the usual girl stuff with players from the opposing team. Mallory has done the occasional camp, various semi organized drop-ins and even travelled to tournaments with girls from several of the dozen or so high schools here in Colorado. And in here trademark style, she makes friends – and perhaps to the annoyance of her high school team coaches and sometimes no doubt the other teams coaches, when they see each other, they get excited and carry on in that way only teenage girls can.

Last season was tough. I don’t know why, but she and the coaches seemed to not see eye to eye. But she stuck it out, and I was proud of her for that. There are two sides to every relationship and perhaps both sides in this one grew during the off-season – I don’t know, but in processing the current situation, the coaches were one of the few things she had as a positive about playing this year. This year however, something has changed in the team dynamics – significantly for the worse. Mallory has tried different approaches to resolve the issue, and sadly nothing has changed for the better. So today she made the final decision to move on.

I use the words move on very deliberately. Mallory is not a quitter. If she was, in this particular instance, she would have “quit” a long time ago – probably early last season. She has simply reached the point where her time can be spent more valuably doing other things. She has given all she can and there is nothing left to gain. Moving on is something she has not taken lightly, has agonized over and cried through for several days now.

So that’s where the rub is. After a team meeting of sorts last night that discussed (but sadly did not resolve) the issues, which Mallory raised rather than let them keep on smoldering and festering, she came home and explained she her reasons why there was no point continuing. She got though that and as she left the office in which I now sit writing this post, I called her back and offered her a hug. That was it, all the emotion, frustration, disappointment just poured out as I held her, sobbing for a few minutes. It was probably only 2-3 minutes, yet feeling that raw emotion pour out in my arms, my little girl, nearly as tall as me, but still my little girl – it felt like an eternity.

As a parent, you just want to fix it. You want to make the pain and hurt go away. But there was nothing I could do – except hold her. All I could offer was the safe harbor of my arms and a warm shoulder. Sometimes holding them has to be enough…

So as a senior, today she played her last game of high school hockey. She has moved on. She won’t letter in her senior year in a sport she loves. We stopped for dinner on the way home and during a reflective moment after dinner I said something to the effect of

There’s always going to be some part of you that wonders if it was right. But some things are easy and some things are hard. This is hard.

I think I said or meant “some decisions” rather than things, but that is how Mal remembers it and quoted me on her Tumblr post. So that’s how it is. She made her decision, and she made it the right way. I couldn’t be more proud of her, just as her mom said in her addition to my note…

I am so proud of your heart - not just in hockey. You have persevered and shown strength of character beyond your years. It is those things that have humbled me many times.

I love you with all my heart and will be cheering you on today on the field and for the rest of your life.

We love you Mallory – great game!

“But what is strength without a double share of wisdom” John Milton