We are in it right now.
My son just turned 6 and my daughter is just months away from being the big 4. I sometimes refer to this stage as “the trenches of parenthood” because that’s what it’s like. Some days it’s a battle just to make it through the day. There are times when the ability to reason isn’t an option. It may be passed their bedtime or a random off-day and it can be grueling. The type of day when only yoga or wine will do. Or both.
Then there are moments.
Moments where your son still isn’t too cool to hug his mom in public or at the bus stop. Or when your daughter picks out an outfit and glows as she spins around claiming that she’s, “a princess AND a pink butterfly.” We hold hands. We wear our sunglasses jammin’ to music while dancing wildly in the living room. We wrap our arms around each other [my husband included] and give group hugs… not forgetting to have “together kisses.”
This is the sweet spot.
It’s when a kissing a boo-boo makes everything all better. It’s being able to say that an outfit is inappropriate and we need to adjust it in someway. The sweet spot is about still being in control while teaching them to fly. Letting them tumble a little so they can stand stronger the next time. It’s about celebrating small victories with vigor and getting through the tough stuff together.
It’s falling asleep while holding hands after a nightmare.
A little story: My son is in his second year of flag football. Last year was a struggle. Being the youngest on the team, he didn’t quite understand the sport and the coaches may have forgotten to mention, “get the guy with the ball.” That first game, my son was fired up and surprisingly walked boldly onto the field. [He can be a little timid at times.] In the first play, he ran around and snatched up all sorts of flags. Impressed with a job well done he showed one of the coaches. The coach wrapped up in the play blew him off a little with a half-assed, “yeah, yeah, good job.”
He was crushed.
Knowing he did wrong but not knowing what, made him cry. Then he refused to play. It took us five games to get him to play after that. Once he figured out his job, he was a great player.
Fast forward to this year.
A handful of practices and the coaches weren’t sure if he should play quarterback or a receiver. His head coach said, “he can throw AND catch but there’s only one of him. He can’t do it all!” It was a complete turn around from last season. We had no hesitation from him during practices and more importantly, during the game. He was a changed man. As his first game approached, he got excited. The flag team had implemented some actual plays and [good news] we knew what direction to run.
Then it happened.
Only minutes into the game, I realize that our team is making a break for the end zone. On our feet, all the parents were screaming wildly. My eyes focused and it dawned on me that the runner was MY son. It was such an awesome thing. As he ran across that line, he raised the ball in the air, and his teammates surrounded him. They threw light punches and pat each other on the head. It was a truly magical moment. Toothless grins all around.
He scored the first touchdown of the entire season.
First and foremost, I LOVE playing sports. I don’t exactly get thrilled watching them because I’d rather be playing instead. But nothing could break the spell while he was playing. Leaps and bounds of improvement since last year. And I found myself saying, “I barely cried for his first day of school but I may cry right now.” I was so proud of him.
The best thing: It wasn’t the touchdown.
It was witnessing my child in the zone, with his friends, overcoming fears and being in the moment of pure victory.
This is the sweet spot.