Sunday, February 1, 2015

One of my biggest fears

So earlier today, my husband and I were talking, and the subject caused me to erupt into tears yet again. I don't think I even realized how much of a fear it was, until we actually discussed it in more detail, and even just thinking about it made me cry. And now that I know it's a fear of mine, I know the only way to conquer it is to face it. But man, I don't know how I will survive it.

Blake has been playing basketball now for a couple weeks, on a team through our local recreation center. He's played a few other sports in the past, and we've always enjoyed the experience. Yes, it's stressful running around all the time to practices and games, but it's always something that helps Blake grow and learn and make new friends, and face his own fears as well. So of course I would never keep him from playing sports, as long as he wants to.

So why do I not do the same for Julianna? Simple. I'm scared out of my mind. It's my biggest fear for her yet.

I was talking to someone at church today about Julianna, and I had a big realization when it comes to being her mom. I want her to progress socially, and am happy to provide opportunities to do so, as long as I'm not there. I love that she can go to her church Primary class all by herself, and her church activity days group, and that others will help her and keep her involved and include her, but I don't want to be there to see it. I'd rather hear from others how well she is doing. Of course I want to see her do well, but what I don't want to see is how others might make fun of her, or look at her differently, or stare at her, or exclude her. I don't want to hear anyone laughing at her, or ignoring her. I just want to pretend that that never happens, and the way I do that is by not being there for most of the social settings she is involved in. I would love to be able to help her in those situations, because I know I could, but at the same time, I don't want to, because it's too hard to see those things that might happen. I know, I'm a big wimp.

So why on earth would I ever consider letting her play for a team sport with most likely all typical 11-year-olds? Same rules apply. I don't want to see the bad. I don't want to hear the questions or see the stares from parents. I don't want her to feel confused or scared, or get hurt physically because she doesn't know how to play the game. I don't want to see her left out of a group or yelled at too harshly by a coach or teammate.

But by not allowing her to do it, I am robbing myself of the moments that I probably will see. Maybe she will totally surprise me and do really well following instructions and playing the game. Maybe she will walk up to those groups of kids and play and talk with them just like a normal kid. Maybe the other kids won't leave her behind. Maybe they will teach her and show her love and friendship. Maybe she will love it and I will love watching her. Why would I ever deny her those wonderful opportunities to grow? It is very selfish of me.

I think being a mom is being willing to see the good and the bad that happens to our kids. We can't always shelter them from their feelings getting hurt, or from being excluded, or from fitting in with the other kids. I certainly don't like seeing it, because it hurts me even more than it hurts them. With Blake, I have no problem watching him go through those challenging times as a kid, because I know he is strong enough to get through them. But with Julianna, I don't have that same faith because of her challenges. Every single child is unique and has different talents and abilities. I already know that Julianna is not the most athletic or coordinated. But that doesn't stop her from writing this on her piece of paper a few weeks ago when we made New Years' Resolutions as a family:

I want to play softball and learn how to be good at softball.

Since then, we've been talking about how we could make this happen for her. It's going to take a lot of support, the right coach, some very compassionate girls, and a lot of prayer to accomplish this. I might even step in and help coach if that's what it takes. But if this is what Julianna wants, it's time to really go for it. As much as I worry and fear that horrible things will happen to her, I have to trust that even more good will come as a result. No matter what, she will grow socially, and learn teamwork.

And I will learn to face the not-so-good things that will inevitably happen to her during her lifetime, along with the good. It's time to conquer this fear of mine. If Julianna's not afraid, then I won't be either. At least I have a few months to prepare myself.


  1. I get how you feel. I dislike subbing in J's primary class because the differences are so pronounced. I make myself volunteer in his kindergarten class once a week (32 kids, they need all the help they can get!) and it's rough again to see the differences between him and the majority of his classmates. But it has gotten easier since September. Luckily he hasn't expressed any desire for sports yet. Between speech, OT and his 2.5 younger brothers I don't know how I'd handle it. Good luck figuring out softball for her! I'm sure it will be hard but worth it in the end. And at the worst it's only a few months until you can quit and throw in the towel for now. :)

  2. Thanks, Lauren. I am glad you understand. I really don't like seeing the differences, and it just gets worse the older she gets, now in 4th grade and 11 years old! I am trying to recruit some girls from her school class to play on her team with her to ease my fears, and I might even shadow her on the field, if the coaches let me. She needs lots of one on one help with everything, and I'm willing to do that.