Since the weeks prior to Disneyworld, way back in April, Brayden has been in really one of his "happiest places" that I can recall him being since he was born. There was his birthday, Disneyworld, ending a "rockin' year" at Gilham with all the pomp and circumstance of being a fifth grader, and then, of course, all the freedom and fun that summer offers. Outside of the times that he is interacting (fighting) with his sister, life has been "good times" for our boy.
Today, however, revealed a kid I haven't seen in a while. Brayden was a "shell" all day long - a walking zombie, so tired, feeling a bit defeated, and I would dare to say, wondering if he'd made the right choice in regards to playing football.
I'm certainly not going to say "I told you so", but much of what we anticipated is coming to fruition. With any sort of "playing time favoritism" completely set aside (as we haven't even come close to playing games yet), Brayden has had the realization of 28 kids on the team and what that's really going to look like for playing time (it's the biggest team of all of them under the Sheldon Pop Warner umbrella). Tonight was his third consecutive 3 hour practice, and with temperatures in the nineties, it was a doozy for him. The coaches have really been emphasizing
"conditioning" this week, and despite my lofty hopes for Brayden to be self-disciplined enough to prepare in advance for this, he wasn't prepared - and he's exhausted.
John and I discussed all of this just now - and my discouragement about it all. I think he hears me and thinks I'm a "Told-You-S0-Debbie-Downer" about all of the football stuff. I don't think it has to do with my response after having just returned from witnessing practice, I think it's more my response to watching my son turn into someone I don't really recognize. When his "spark/smile" is gone, it makes me realize how much I take it for granted.
So, it all comes back to that age-old parenting dilemma of wanting to see your kids happy, but knowing that being perpetually "happy" isn't what develops them into responsible, compassionate, hard-working adults. The old adage of, "that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger" keeps coming back to me this week- as I fear it will over and over again in this upcoming new adventure of middle school for him this year.
Bye bye "happy times", we are entering into the days of "facing reality"........