I know what just happened was hard on you and I want you to know it was hard on me, too. I was trying to be tough, but inside it felt like my heart was being crushed into a million microscopic pieces.
But I held it together.
I’m still not sure I made the right decision. For some reason, this feels like one of the more difficult decisions I’ve had to make since the day they placed you in my arms and my world forever changed. The day I became a mom. The best—and most challenging—job I have ever had.
I am trying. So hard. Each and every day.
And sometimes I’m just not sure. I hope I’m making the best choices. But I wonder . . . am I?
It broke my heart tonight to make you get into the car, tears streaming down your face, covering your cheeks and shirt with droplets, like the rain gently falling on the windshield. I wanted so badly to bring you inside and wrap my arms around you and tell you it was going to be OK. That you didn’t have to go.
Once we started driving, it took everything in me not to turn the car around.
It’s funny how when you are a kid, you feel like all of the grown-ups of the world know some secret to life. Like they’ve got it all together and understand some big huge something that you will someday understand, too. And then you become a parent. And you realize how much your parents must have been winging it. Making decisions and hoping and praying for the best.
I have been praying a lot tonight.
I hope the words I said to you in the car were encouraging. They were meant to be. But after you walked out of the car, head bowed down, walking slowly to the entrance of the gymnasium as the rain fell on your hunched over shoulders, I realized it probably sounded kind of harsh to you.
My parents used to call that tough love.
I know somewhere along the way you have decided you don’t want to be on this team anymore, but you made a commitment. You have one short week left. And I just can’t let you quit. I know you don’t want to go to practice. I know you are counting the days until the season is over. But this is where you hold up your head and you stick it out. You remember the love you had for the game, not that long ago. The love that made you get out and practice and shoot the ball over and over and over again. The love that made you work so very hard for months on end to be able to one day say you made the team.
After this season is over, you never have to pick up a basketball again in your life if you don’t want to. But I need you to learn how to stand up and keep moving forward when things get hard. I need you to learn the importance of sticking out your commitments, if not for yourself—for your team. You are on a team. And you may not realize it, but they are counting on you.
Someday you may be in a challenging class. Someday you may have a difficult boss. Someday you may get really, really mad at your spouse. Someday you may feel so sad you aren’t sure if you can get out of bed.
And I don’t want you to think quitting is always the answer. I don’t want you to learn you can always choose the easy way out. I want you to learn grit. And perseverance. And to how to find the positive and the thing to be grateful for and the joy—even in the face of a difficult situation.
You can do hard things, sweet girl. I want you to be able to look the challenges that come your way straight in the eye and know you can do it. You can get through anything. One day at a time.
Am I saying you never quit anything? No. There are some things you may encounter in life that you need to walk away from. But I do not believe this is one of those things.
I sat in the car for a while after you walked through the doors tonight. I thought about rushing in and telling you I had changed my mind. That you could quit. But instead, I put the car into reverse and slowly drove away. Praying.
I get to pick you up in an hour and that hour can’t come fast enough. I am sorry you were so sad tonight. It pained me to make you go, but it felt in my gut like the right thing to do.
One more week. That’s all you have left. You can do it. I have faith in you.
I really hope I made the right choice tonight. I hope years from now you look back on this moment and feel grateful that your father and I made you stick it out. But I don’t know. This may be something you look back on with frustration. I always say I wonder what I am doing that will put my kids in therapy; this may be that something.
But I hope not. I hope this experience makes you stronger. I hope you learn that you can do anything you set your mind to. That even in the face of difficulty, you can rise to the occasion.
One week left. That’s all you have. And I will be cheering for you every step of the way.
Today. Tomorrow. And always.
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