gr1 is our first born: she tries hard to please, she’s competitive, she’s driven and she likes to be good at everything she does.

as a parent i want to protect my children from disappointments, but i know they cannot live in a bubble. they must learn from their experiences. my husband and i try to teach them to: make good decisions, trust themselves and not hurt anyone in the process (including themselves).

so last year she made it onto the track team. at our elementary school you have to “time-in” to be on it and she made it. she felt special. she enjoys running. she’s good at it (i know, i’m her mother so i’ll say that). she enjoyed the team effort and the chance to miss school for a couple hours for the track meets. the team even made it to the boro-sectionals at Icahn Stadium. they tried their best. i could have cried for every child running. i wanted all of them to win. seeing them push themselves was heart wrenching.

then there was this year. she came out of school and i thought she was going to cry when she told me she did not make the team. the first track meet was last week. a few of her schoolmates came up to me that day to ask why gr1 was not at the track meet. gr1 had a few people ask her directly. i felt so bad for her. she really wanted to be a part of it.

this week, the Girls on the Run program started. she wasn’t sure if she wanted to participate this semester. granted, she participated in it the last three semesters and said last fall she might take a break this spring. i was afraid she did not want to do it because she didn’t make the track team. maybe she didn’t feel like she could do it. or maybe she thought she was good at running and is now second guessing herself. after pushing her to go to sleep away camp last summer (which she did not enjoy and is a whole other post in parenting 101–what not to do) i will not push her to do something i want her to do just because i think she should do it. she made her decision and i must learn to trust her. she talked about it with my husband and i and the two of them plan to run together on the weekends for fun.

when the kids leave for school i tell them: ganbate (japanese for “do your best”). they reply: ganbarimasu (japanese for “i will try my best”). it’s a good send off at the beginning of the school day and they say the same to me: ganbate, mom. and i tell them: ganbarimasu.


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