As a strong, independent woman, I feel fearless. Bring it.
For real. I dare you.
As a mom, in the US, I feel scared. All the time.
I worry about my kids … all the time. I tell them to text / call me anytime they get anywhere. I worry about the jerks in the cars speeding down the streets. Don’t get me started about how I feel about mass shootings. I may never come home.
When I moved here, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Actually, maybe the opposite of a ton of bricks. Suddenly, I was no longer worried about my kids. It was weird. I finally caught my breath after years of holding my breath. I wrote about it here.
This weekend I was nervous again. But for a whole host of different reasons.
You may know that our oldest, Lucas, loves tennis. And thank goodness he does. You see, my mom and dad met on a tennis court. My parents installed a tennis court at my home growing up, before putting in a new kitchen (and my dad was in the restaurant business.) Private lessons, private coaches, and personal pleas … whatever they could do to make me love the game … but it didn’t really take.
Until Lucas came along.
Lucas has had his own tennis racquet and watched tennis since he was 18 months old. I am not even kidding. He loves the game. He always has.
To come to NZ, Jesse and I had to promise him that we would help him continue to train and continue to compete. But Gisborne is not a mecca of tennis. He’s been lucky coach-wise. He has a fantastic coach from Melbourne who works him hard at least twice a week. We’ve driven him to tournaments, a few hours away. And he has won some of those tournaments.
But this past weekend he was invited to compete 5.5 hours away.
Jesse was working night shifts. I have two other kids.
The drive doesn’t involve high ways. It’s through the mountains.
But he was keen. So were his coaches to see him play.
So we found a family locally willing to drive him three hours.
And then the coach met him there and drove him to the home of a lovely Russian family whose son also plays tennis. He spent the night there. The following morning he got on a bus, another 2.5 hours … and then the matches.
The texts started:
- “Mom. I’m a little nervous”
- “Mom. I hope I play ok tomorrow.”
The worry found its way back. My poor son. He’s only 13.
We’re in a foreign country. I hardly know anyone here. What if something happens?
Will he be ok? …
And then, it started to come together:
- “Mom, this family is so nice. This is great!”
- “Mom, I lost my first doubles match. My head wasn’t quite in it.”
- “Mom, I won the second doubles match!”
- “Mom! I won my singles match!”
- “Mom! The hotel is awesome. I’m on a team again! These guys are great!”
- “Mom! I just won another singles match! We’re headed home soon!”
I can breath again.
I may be strong. I may be bold.
But when it comes to my kids, on their own, in a foreign country, after what we have gone through this year, I tremble and shake and I cry.
I hope, I just hope that they will be ok and come out the other end stronger and more confident, and more independent.
And suddenly, I remember a memory.
My dad, at JFK airport in 1999 as I was getting on a plane to Moscow and then to Kiev. My dad was crying; he was worried for me. Of course he was. Remember the cold war? I was moving to Russia for a year. I was 20 years old.
New Zealand tennis tournaments a few hours away have nothing on that.
Time to toughen up, Momma!
But let’s be honest. Parenting is hard.