I remember that feeling. That one. The awful sinking feeling. The one when your cheeks blush with shame and embarrassment. The one where the pit of your stomach empties to hollow. The one where you are stunned by shock and disbelief. And the one where you are made to feel a failure, not good enough. The one when you feel sick with trying to hold back the sobs.
I remember it.
The one when you are not on the list.
Not on the list for the one thing that means so much to you, to be with your team, doing your thing. I remember that feeling too. The one when you are on the list. The one of pride. The one of belonging. The one of joy and excitement, mixed with a little thrill of fear, knowing you are going to be doing what you love, what makes your heart sing, but not knowing how it is all going to play out; and you can’t wait to find out.
When you expect that feeling, perhaps through arrogance, it is a tough, tough, heart-breaking lesson when it happens for the first time.
I felt it immediately. The change of frequency in the car bouncing off me. And I saw all those feelings in that split second reflected in his face and body as he realised he had been ‘dropped’, not just of the A team, but also off the B’s.
The stir of raw emotions for me was powerful. And yet, I had to put my emotions, my feelings of disappointment, my feelings of disbelief aside and let him have the space to feel his. I could hear Brene’s words. Sit with him in his darkness and let him know, you know and allow him to feel.
Because nothing I could say would alleviate those feelings. The only facts we had was the list without his name. The fact that he has been told he has the ‘best hands’ in the year. The fact that he is running in the national championships at the weekend, representing his school and the year above. The fact that everyone else in the championships was playing in a team.
The facts did not add up. Nothing made sense.
So it was shepherd’s pie. Comfort food and comfort from his hero, the Big Man and an early night.
But just before I shut everything down for the night, the final fact came through. And it all made sense.
Their team Coach had been away, and the stand in had forgotten the ‘new boy’ (Or at least that is my interpretation)… but probably more like ‘lost in translation’. With the Big Man trying to hold me back, as my relief melted, I couldn’t get up those stairs fast enough to whisper in to my little man’s ears – you are on the list!
And the game was nailbiting! I could have been at twickers! And my little boy, always my hero, in my eyes played the best game ever … perhaps he learnt from the experience that he never wanted to be off the list again.