“Mama did you see the relay race today at our sports day practice? She dropped the baton AGAIN!!!” Nadi burst out as soon as he saw me out of school. “And of course we lost time. She always holds it from the edge. You should hold it from the middle.”
Tween angst is a thing, did you know and as the 9-12 year old phase hits, there is just so much happening and not enough words to do justice to it all. Life is unfair several times a day and of course being his mother, I just don’t understand. I try to kee my tone and stance neutral and conversational when these anecdotes of injustice are presented, more often than not making light of the situation so he keeps perspective. At almost ten, everything can be so terribly personal.
My first reaction was to say, “Well, you know relay is a team effort and all sorts make up a team. Win some lose some. As long as you’re having fun.” But lately I have noticed that to live and let live is perhaps not enough. Perhaps we too should look to expect more, fix more, be ther more by giving a bit more. So I said instead, “Why don’t you talk to her then? Explain that how she’s holding it makes her drop it- and show her how to hold it. Maybe she doesn’t know and gets nervous?” Almost in slow mo, Nadi did a full head turn locked eyes with me and said, in his usual terribly eloquent manner, “Oh.”
See the thing is you know your kids and this mere oh was, to me, telling of the fact that I made him think of the entire situation differently. Atleast for a second. I don’t know if he will go to her tomorrow or manage to have this conversation but here is hoping that something shifted. I wish it was this easy to make kids kinder or more empathetic. I mean even as grown ups, we struggle with trying to imagine what the person Infront is holding up until they crumble to rubble right Infront of us. And even then, we react more often with righteousness and distance than understanding and support.
We all drop that metaphorical baton sometimes. We completely lose our shit because it all got too much. We rant and rail and hurt, both ourselves and others. And all the while, we glance around, hoping that nearby, around us somewhere, is someone who can see us struggle, come over and help us hold onto it the right way as we start to run again.