Four weeks of school are now behind us. Since 7th grade is the first year students can participate in Athletics, it's also our first year in the wonderful world of middle school sports.
For girls in our district, the choices are volleyball, basketball, cross-country, tennis, and track and field (I think--remember I'm getting almost all of my information second-hand). You have to do two sports; right now it's volleyball season so the concurrent activity is cross-country.
All of this is completely foreign to me since
a) I attended a tiny private school with only one sport for girls--volleyball. I'm 5'2". 'Nuff said.
b) I don't have an athletic bone in my body. Since I was a high school teacher for several years, I know a little bit about extracurricular activities--mainly, that when you are absent for a game, you should always get your makeup work ASAP.
I still stand by that, by the way. Academics shouldn't suffer due to participation in a sport.
Anyway, we left it up to C to decide if she wanted to try out for volleyball. She hasn't played much, but I thought she had a decent chance of making one of the teams. I think she was a little nervous about trying out, though, because instead she chose cross-country, which has no tryouts. After her Athletics coach explained what was involved, she told me, "Coach K said it's great for people who like to push themselves. I can't wait!"
It's true, she does like a challenge.
And she got one. In the first week, she ran more than I probably have in all the years of my life combined. Besides the running in cross-country, which happens before school, in Athletics, they do strength and conditioning and more running. At this point I think she's doing at least 2 miles a day.
Last week she started saying that her knee hurt. After the first week of athletics, the coaches sent out an email saying that they were not accepting parent notes to excuse students from working out. (Translation: the kids were sore because even the most active ones probably hadn't ever worked out this much, but the coaches weren't having it.) If a student thought they were injured, they should go to the trainer, or go to the doctor and bring back a note. Period.
After a day or so, C went to the trainer, who told her it was tendinitis, due to repetitive stress, and that a special brace thingy that puts pressure on the spot would help, and that she should take ibuprofen and stretch. We did that.
Remember she's still running 2 miles a day and doing squats, lunges, and I don't know what all.
Web MD said when you have tendinitis you should rest it completely. Meanwhile the coaches are telling her to "take it easy" but I'm not sure that's in my daughter's vocabulary. I could feel the worry circling in my mind, not yet becoming full-fledged anxiety, but I went back and forth on whether I should email the coaches, or the trainer...or go ahead and take her to the doctor even though I knew what the doctor would say and since we don't have traditional insurance, it would be out of pocket...and then she's on the list for the meet on Friday...should she bow out and let someone else go?
Then I felt this rising up in me: Let her talk to the coaches and visit the trainer. She's got this.
Sure, I couldn't help mentioning what she needed to hear from the trainer (namely, was she or was she not fit to continue running?) Then when I found myself telling her what to say to the coach and getting an impatient response, I got the message (finally) and bit my tongue.
That day she got in the car saying, "The trainer did some kind of voodoo magic on my knee!" (It's a machine that sends an electrical pulse through electrodes to relieve pain.) She had talked to the coaches. In Athletics that talk happened after she was trying to do the whole workout and started crying. The coaches said she needed to tell them she was hurting BEFORE it got to that point. Her knee started feeling better. But by the time of the meet on Friday, it was hurting again, and she and her coach decided that she should wait until she's healthy to compete. She was disappointed at first but rallied to cheer her teammates on.
What a lot of lessons she had an opportunity to learn. If I had stepped in and taken over with my anxious-mother emails, she wouldn't have learned any of them.
Now, I am NOT saying that we shouldn't listen to our mommy-radar when it pings, "This doesn't seem right! I should check it out!" Most of the time when we listen to our deepest intuitions, it turns out we were right.
However, I AM saying that I actually did listen to my intuition, the one that lies beneath my knee-jerk worried-mom reaction. Admittedly, C makes it easier for me, a certified wimp who hates taking risks, to let her be independent because she tells me to. This is the child who was so excited on the first day of kindergarten that we got there before anyone else except the student teacher (her actual teacher wasn't even in the room yet.) And once C had a puzzle in front of her, she looked at me and said matter-of-factly, "You can go now."
"What? Are you...are you sure you don't want me to stay at least until someone else gets here?"
"No. You can go." And I was dismissed with a wave of her hand.
I walked away a little stunned, but knowing instinctively that she wasn't unattached to me, and that she did still need me for some things.
Just not this time.
I was right when I decided, She's got this. I just have to let her handle it.