I have given birth to a mini-me. Cole didn't look like me when he was a baby. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, informed me that he was a spitting image of my husband. And then he grew shocking copper hair and he didn't resemble either of us.
Over the winter, we put him into gymnastics. I was certain he would love gymnastics. He is a gross motor boy. He loves to run and climb and jump. But from the first class to the 14th class, certain activities brought tears to my little boy's eyes. Walking in a circle during warm-up, made Cole cling desperately to my leg pleading to be picked up. He didn't want to go on the trampoline for the first month. Thinking perhaps he was just having difficulty with the transition from being an only child to being an older brother, we tried to be understanding. We tried not to worry that our child wasn't good at following instructions or taking turns. I tried not to worry that he was anxious about new social situations. But WE became more and more stressed as Saturday mornings approached and I believe all (Mark, me and Cole) breathed a sigh of relief when gymnastics was over.
Then we signed Cole up for soccer. He loves to play in the yard and kick balls, so this seemed great. His best friend, Ana, was also in the same programme. What better incentive. But for the first two practises, it has been a repeat of gymnastics. In fact, as Mark put it, "Soccer makes gymnastics look like a walk in the park."
Cole doesn't want to kick the ball. He wants to be held. He wants to play on the swings. He says he has to go to the washroom. He seems anxious. And soccer is supposed to be fun!
But as I reflect on my childhood, I remember how I refused to go through the ritual to become a real Brownie. How I cried and froze and wouldn't do it! I remember at a piano recital, how I sat down to play, pushed on the first two notes (not hard enough, evidently) and no sound came out. I threw my head down on the keyboard, wrapped my arms around myself and cried and refused to be consoled. I remember awkwardness as I started baseball. I didn't understand some of the rules, I threw the baseball bat by accident and hit my coach, and when it came time to suggest a team name, I was so stressed that I said the first thing that came to mind, "pork chops".
But I went on to eventually, in my own time, "fly up" and become a Brownie, not in front of all the parents, but at a later date, just with the other Brownies. And at the end of the year, I was nominated Most Improved Brownie. I enjoy playing the piano, just not in front of other people. And my baseball team ended up being the Bancroft Bulls (NOT the Bancroft Pork Chops). And through it all, my parents accepted my slow warming to new situations, they accepted my sensitivity and they continued to hide their frustration, if any festered in them. They reassured me over and over and over and over again that I would eventually learn my seven times tables and that it certainly wasn't worth losing sleep over. This is the kind of patience that you come to expect in your own parents, but once you are the parent, you realize how difficult it can be.
I am so grateful that my parents always accepted who I was, albeit a little neurotic, right from the start.