In mothering, there is little more difficult than dealing with children who are emotionally hurt and deeply disappointed. I have found that I go to great lengths to avoid such times, as I imagine we all do.
Yesterday, I picked Ethan up from guitar and transported him to the pool for swimming practice. We had a sweet conversation about the plans of God. I can't recall what was the catalyst for this talk, but in the end, Ethan said, "But all things work for good, right Mommy?" Little did he know how much he would need to recall this statement about an hour later. For a nine-year old's world is vastly different than ours in terms of perspective and experiences. What we might be able to work through and then quickly move forward through, they cannot. The important, life-altering relationships are few, their security strongly rooted in them. For the sensitive child, change in general is challenging and the loss of an important person in their life is exponentially harrowing.
We arrived at the pool and gathered with the other families. A team meeting had been called for that afternoon to discuss the summer schedule and "plans for next year." The email that informed me of this meeting was vague and I knew that there was a high probability that the news would not be good. The news was brief and swift, much like the ripping off of a band aid. Unfortunately, it left a gaping wound that continued to bleed as more information was given and the reality of what the meant for my children set in. The site location for our team was going to close and our coach was moving to a location geographically and financially unfeasible for us.
Over the past year, I have recounted several tales from our experiences with the pool - from our first jaunt with the Elk's this past summer, to a smattering of swim mentions in other posts. I can't verbalize all the ways in which swimming has benefited my children. Physically, mentally, emotionally - they have learned valuable lessons on working hard, team-work, and sportsmanship. They have developed a new fondness for healthy eating and being "tough." This has spilled over in their spiritual life as well, understanding that they should always give their best for God, relying on Him to give strength to their bodies, rising above the fray of competition and spending time in prayer over it. Nothing has pleased me more than watching my son thank his timers, cheer on his fellow teammates, shake hands with his competitors, and encourage his sister (which is extremely difficult to do at times, I assure you).
There was comfort for Ethan in our current swim location. He is not Olympic material. However, he works hard, always does his best, listens to his coach and is content with improving his times. There is security in knowing that he is not compared to the other swimmers, that he is not intimidated by more advanced swimmers and he had developed quite a nice, tightly knit commraderie, with the other swimmers. I saw every ounce of that security and confidence drain from his face yesterday.
But possibly the most detrimental result of this news falls with Ethan's coach. Ethan's relationship with him is similar to that of an older brother. I am sure Ethan has been aggravating at times, just like a younger brother, but Ethan also opened himself up to this coach in a way that he has only done with me. It was a relationship that quickly evolved beyond what he had experienced with other adults of authority. This adult was always interested in him. Ethan trusted him, relied on him, gave him insight into his emotions and what he was dealing with outside of the pool. And, so, my son grieves this loss as if it were a death.
I have been faced with multiple situations over the last month that fall under this same set of circumstances - issues out of my control that greatly impact my children in a negative way and I have to deal with the fallout. It is not fun. Frankly, it stinks. At least at this moment, I am only dealing with Ethan on this as Sadie does not appear to have fully allowed the reality of losing her coach into her heart.
It is a great and valuable teaching lesson for Ethan and me. He was blessed to have this year and this relationship. There should only be joy in that, not grief. It is but a bump in this life, this very temporary life. In the perspective of disappointments in life, this will be minor - let's learn how to deal with them now. Finally, we must plow forward remembering that something phenomenal is still before us, waiting, because, "we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28