The change is very gradual, almost imperceptible, yet I notice it lately. The silent burst of the colorful bubble of dreams in the young mind of my son. The brush with reality is painful and the realization harsh. Even a year ago, being an Olympic swimmer was a possibility, beating Phelp’s record was not simply a pipe dream but an achievable aspiration. Playing pro baseball was not wishful thinking but a natural progression of life. What else would he do other than play professional baseball? Or win gold medals in Olympics? He has his mind set to two schools when he grows up – Harvard and MIT. But now questions and doubts are casting shadows on those innocent dreams. I am not good enough! Am I good enough?
Those dreams, at the age of nine, at the beginning of fourth grade, are slowly starting to look unrealistic. Although I know this is simply a part of growing up, yet it devastates me to think that he will not casually say anymore ‘I will win one more medal than Phelps in Olympics’ or, ‘Mom, when both Ravens and Orioles want to draft me, what should I do?’ I just want him to dream on – for as long as he can. And who knows, his dreams may well be his reality one day? He is a little bundle of endless possibilities like every other child.
Last night while brushing teeth before bed time he said to me:
‘Mom, the child born by mixing you and dad, (interesting choice of words) that is me, should be super athletic and very smart, right? Dad is super athletic and you are very smart?’
‘Well, you ARE super athletic and you ARE very smart!’ I said. Please note how I avoided answering the ‘you are very smart?’ question! 🙂
He thought about it quietly for a few minutes.
‘Being good at sports is not going to get me anywhere, is it?’ He then asked.
‘Being good at sports is an ability not everybody has. It is a gift. Accept at it as one. And you love playing, so play. We can see where it takes you later. But you want to be well-rounded. You want to do well in school and learn all that you can learn as well!’
‘I am finding fourth grade very challenging. This is the most challenging year of all I think. Can you help me?’ (He just started fourth grade)
The cry for help was so plaintive, so innocent and genuine that I stopped what I was doing and took him in my arms.
We had a talk and planned a plan till he felt confident that we are all in it together, mom, dad, sister too. We are team Ryan and we will help him learn, no matter what. It indeed is a big transition from previous years to fourth grade and his steps are faltering. But he knew enough to ask for help. I am grateful. We have a plan. Bring it on, fourth grade. We got this! 🙂 And we high-fived!
We will make sure those dreams return! We need those bright, colorful bubbles floating around childhood. My mommy heart wants to save all of them, none can burst! So there! 🙂