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A Mother's Protective Instinct

A Mother's Protective Instinct

It’s basketball try-out season in my son’s junior high, and it’s giving me plenty of teachable moments. I just assumed those teachable moments would be more directed at my son and less about my own formation. We are new to this district, after having lived out of the country for his entire life, in a place where basketball wasn’t the national sport. So here we are, a thirteen-year-old, full of hope, in a gym full of fifty candidates with a bench that will hold twelve.

I started early with the are-you-sure-this-is-what-you-want questions. The answer was an emphatic yes. Then I followed up with my husband, can-you-stop-him-or-teach-him-everything-he-needs-to-know this week? The answer was an emphatic no. So I sit and wait, watching for signs of rejection, or discouragement, wanting to protect and prevent any negative emotion from coming his way.

The open gym weeks start. I am early to pick him up, ready for his tears with my milkshake I collected on the way to school. His response has been positive and I find myself sucking down the chocolaty goodness, needing it more than him.

Today are the cuts. I start this day with prayer and feel a peace God has been offering me for weeks but that I rejected. I wanted to protect and control or, worse yet, manipulate the situation to avoid him feeling pain. This is not reality, my son’s gentle understanding of his ability and this opportunity is an exercise of risk taking I ultimately want him to do more of. Exercising this muscle will benefit him in the years to come. Offering himself and feeling ok with the results is a sign of maturity, so why would I wish away this chance for him to grow? Because if he has to risk, that means I do too. If he has to face rejection, so do I. If he isn’t good enough, maybe I am not either. That confession is ugly. Those fears could win this war, but I won’t let them. I am awake this morning, believing and trusting regardless of whose name is posted on the gym door this morning, life is about leaning in. It’s about going after what you want, doing your best and believing the results are a part of a sovereign plan.

“I am so glad we are trying out for BB, Josh.” I told him as I dropped him off this morning.

We are trying out, Mom?” he teased me, smiling. “Hope we make it.” He laughs.

I think we will make it just fine. With or without a jersey at the end of this week, we are going to make it just fine. . . .



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