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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Injury. Adversity. Life.

In the past year, Cole has suffered a concussion, a sprained ankle, a sprained shoulder, and a lower back stress fracture.

I don't think I've been a very good parent through these injuries. Obviously I was concerned–especially about the concussion. But for the others, I didn't want to believe he was hurt. There were games to play. Soccer. Football. Basketball. Soccer. Except for the concussion, it took a few doctor visits (and an x-ray or two)  to convince me my son was really injured. Why would I question my kid's pain when I know very well he loves to play sports and absolutely hates to sit out?

Because I'm a crazy parent. Like so many of us who love to watch their kid play or perform. Once our child displays a smattering of talent in anything (sports, music, chess), we begin to think big. Maybe he could play in college! Maybe she will become the next American Idol! If American Idol was still a thing, that is.

While I was a book and music nerd in my youth (unlike now), my husband was an athlete. He loved sports–still does. But he seems to have a healthier outlook about kids and sports. I.e., he's not a crazy dad. He doesn't believe that sports should be a venue for parents to flash their pride or expand their social network–although those are nice aspects. He believes the purpose is to allow our kids to experience the rewards of being on a team. And teach a little discipline along the way. Most of all, it should be fun.

But it isn't always fun. There are injuries. There are times when your kid doesn't get picked. There are times when other kids are jerks. Hmm. Sounds an awful lot like life.

As Cole was weathering these injuries, he became more frustrated than I've ever seen him. He couldn't shake the pain. He couldn't play. He actually told his coach that he wondered if he should stay in sports. My typically happy son was distraught. I wondered what to do. I had always subscribed to a certain philosophy: work hard, keep positive, and good things will happen. But after all of his injuries, I was beginning to wonder if this advice was setting Cole up for disappointment.

Cole's coach suggested a massage therapist. If it didn't work, Cole would probably give up sports. And I would be the parent who would help him find the bright side and carry on. And I would have to accept that my mom pins would languish in a drawer.

just like the pros...ha!
But the story has a happy ending, with the bonus of having a lesson learned. After months of back pain, the massage therapist employed the "cupping" method to heal muscles. And.... now? He's pain free! He feels great. He can enjoy his favorite sport again. And gratitude is flowing. The past year has been challenging, but our family has realized how adversity can give you perspective–trumping any concern about your kid playing sports. Health. A safe home. A loving family. A pantry full of food. Usually. Usually food in the pantry.

I came across the following article. Every parent should read it. While we moms and dads want success and happiness for our kids, we also need to make them understand the journey isn't always filled with cream puffs. And sometimes to get to the cream puffs, you need to eat your vegetables. Sometimes oatmeal.

Sprained ankle? Your dad's got you, Bud.