Parenting is joyful yet we face some bumps along the way. One bump for me as a parent is knowing when an angst I have is more about me than my child.
Parents are told to guide and protect while allowing their child to make decisions and live with the consequences of the choices she makes. When it comes to safety and security, the decisions are mine. It's innocuous situations that cause me to stop and question my intentions.
So, the kid is on a competitive swim team and for a number of reasons, i.e. spring breaks and winter storms in April, she hasn't swam consistently for a few weeks. I know from repeating personal experiences how easy it is to fall off the fitness wagon, how it feels to go from tortoise to hare and how hard it is to get back into shape. I share this with kid, kid is torn because she wants to please me, I realize this was my angst, I stop talking and sigh. Yes, an athlete has to practice to get better but at that moment, it wasn't about swim times; it was about a mother (still not sure where her "push line" should be) quieting down to listen to her daughter.
Did she swim that night? No. And not the following night either. She was sick. She did swim the rest of the week with her team and on her own Saturday and Sunday. She's swimming a 500 yard free next weekend - her longest race ever - and wants to do her best.
She's twelve with limited life experiences. I have more experiences - and more filters. I can't separate myself from my filters. They are there, I'll watch for them and when I see them, I will stop and listen to the spoken and unspoken words of my daughter.
What else is a parent to do?