I just spent the past two hours angry and I’m not really sure, deep down, why so I need to write it down…flesh it out, own it and then dispose of it.
I don’t like being angry. I spent too much time in my past being angry and it’s a giant time suck. Nothing productive happens when you spend precious time being angry. Those years taught me the best way to deal with anger is to get it out and get over it.
Here’s the story…
Zach wants to try out for a different hockey team next year. He’s been itching to try something different, something maybe a little bit bigger and more challenging for a while but we talked him into staying with his current team for this last season. For the upcoming season, we are open to helping him see if there’s something more out there for him in the hockey rink. This year we are ready to see him try something bigger so he can do the best he can to follow his dream of playing hockey in college…at West Point. It’s his dream and all we can do is give him the opportunities to reach for the stars.
This afternoon, one of my hockey mom friends, Heather, texted me to let me know there was one last conditioning session before tryouts start on Wednesday. It was a little last minute and I knew Zach had lacrosse practice until 6:30 but if we hurried and I had dinner waiting for him, we just might make it. So, I went to work arranging the pieces of the puzzle so they fit just perfectly. I filled out the registration form for the hockey team. I wrote Zach’s bio. I made sure I had my schedule down so I could shoot right from lacrosse practice to the rink across town and then back up to my side of town to pick up Claire’s carpool from swim. I checked with Stan to make sure he could swing by the rink to get Zach after conditioning. Everything was a go. Thumbs up…until I called Zach.
I’ve never heard Zach waver when it comes to hockey. Usually, he’s all fired up to get on the ice. Usually, he chomps at the bit with all things hockey.
Today, he said “I really don’t want to go.” And then he wasn’t there anymore. The line was dead and I knew he was headed into practice so there was no chance of catching him again before the end of lacrosse. But I was irritated. This is what told us he wants. He said he wants to play for this team. So why doesn’t he want to go to conditioning with them and make a good impression on the coach? He was recruited to play for this team last year but this year is a different story. This year, the competition is going to be stiff. This year, he needs to make a good impression, if this is what he really wants.
On the fairly decent chance that Zach changed his mind and really did want to go to conditioning, I made sure his hockey bag and sticks are in the car and I headed to Wawa to pick up his favorite ~ Philly Cheesesteak. I turned the car toward school to pick him up at the time practice usually ends and that’s when I find out practice ended a half an hour early and he’s been at school this whole time shooting around with some of his team.
My blood begins to simmer. I spent my afternoon rearranging schedules and working my tail off to help Zach follow his dream and here he’s been goofing off with his team. He did the whole “avoidance” thing with me…no call when practice ended early…didn’t answer his phone when I called at the regular practice time end…made me come in search of. And when I found him, my blood went from a slow simmer to a rolling boil…I was mad!
So to ease my frustration, I did what any sane, mama from the Far West End of Richmond would do…I stuffed my face with sushi and headed out shoe shopping. And then I did what I really needed to do…focused on my irritation and worked at getting over it.
I didn’t know why I was so stinking mad at this man-child who has so many grown up ideas and dreams and aspirations. Why was I mad? What was the trigger? Was it that his phone disconnected and I had no idea whether he was going to change his mind? Was it because he could have gotten there on time if he had called as soon as practice was done? Or was it because it looks like he didn’t care about all of the time and energy I spent getting things put together so he can chase his dream?
Maybe that last question is the one I need to focus on. It’s the one that revolves, mostly, around me and what I put into getting him ready for this conditioning session. I am the one who made the arrangements, did the paperwork, made sure to get him his favorite sandwich from Wawa. I went out of my way to help him and I didn’t get the response I expected.
It’s all about setting expectations and I set mine way too high for Zach. I expected him to be excited to get back on the ice but what I forgot is that he is still a 16 year old boy. He just spent a full day at school. He had two hours of lacrosse practice. And I threw this at him at the last possible second. In all of this, I expected him to be ready to rock and roll. I didn’t take into account the fact that he is trying hard to be a man but he still has so many child-like tendencies. He wants to be grown up, a little, but he’s not yet there. I need to be the one to be the grown-up and I wasn’t. I set my expectations at a level which expected Zach to be a grown-up but yet I didn’t set those expectations for myself. UGH!
I wrote most of this last night and now today in the lightness of the morning, I can see my anger for what it was….misdirected irritation at all of the work I put into something to help Zach further himself. I didn’t have a chance to talk to him last night. By the time I got home from picking Claire up from swim practice Zach was already sleeping. So this morning we chatted. He does want to try out for this team. He just didn’t have it in him yesterday to make a good impression on skates. Lesson learned…ask questions first so you have less of a reason for getting angry.
Oh, for the love of my children…