Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Could Things Have Been Better?

What was I feeling while my beautiful oldest daughter was standing alone in the rain, embarrassed and hysterical? If I didn't admit that I was angry, I would be lying. Of course I was angry. I was angry, and embarrassed. What a great impression we must have been making on the extended family. The best way for me to describe my emotions; I felt trapped. Watching her suffer like this, away from home and pushed to her traveling-limits, broke my heart, but her harsh behavior towards her younger sister was not okay.

Jordan was all about image and making a good impression. A rule follower. She held herself to very high standards and was content to go unnoticed in social situations, especially those involving adults. Getting hit in the head with a basketball, it tends to get you noticed. Imagine her internal torment when one minute she was in complete control of her emotions, and the next she could see nothing but red.

I think that deep down, like deep in the pits of our stomachs, parents know when something is wrong. Actually, I don't like the negativity of the term "wrong". Let me rephrase this; we become aware that things should, and hopefully could, be better. A portion of our hectic, busy lives may need to be "tweaked" to help ensure the well being of the whole family.

So yes, deep down I'm pretty sure I realized that at times our lives should, and hopefully could have, been less tumultuous. Why would any child repeatedly put herself through all of the pain and drama, if it could have been avoided? The answer to this is obvious to me today, but it certainly wasn't eleven years ago. If it was, we probably would have sought out professional help long before we did.

But please don't worry, I don't have deep regrets. I can confidently say that we all did the best we could, with what we knew.

And it certainly helps that today we see Jordan blossoming into a pretty awesome young adult. :)

Thank you.

Us Too

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Anger Management. Or Not.

Yes. Yes you can.

We had another basketball incident later that same year. We were at a family picnic and a bunch of the cousins were playing on a small "court" that had one basket. Kayla's shot rebounded off the backboard and accidentally hit Jordan on the top of her head. It happens.

I have no right to presume I knew what Jordan's thought process was, but I could make the assumption that she was pissed, and perhaps even a little embarrassed... because she threw the ball right in the back of Kayla's head. Kayla cried and the game came to a screeching halt.

I told Jordan to get off the court and she tried to fight her way back into the game, like physically. No way! She shouted, informing me that I can't tell her what to do. Um...excuse me? Yes, actually I can. Picture an angry eight year old refusing to step off a basketball court. How do you react as a parent? What options do you have to make your child get off a court? Keep in mind this was taking place in front of many extended family members who don't get to see our kids very often.

I'm not sure if I thought about, or planned it, but I smacked her butt. Yep...Cringe. She went running behind/under a tree and stood there for over a half hour. By herself. In the rain. This was certainly not one of our proudest family moments. :(

Thank you.

Us Too

Thursday, January 12, 2017

When Appearances are Deceiving

No one would have believed what we had experienced minutes before arriving to the game. Jordan appeared to be one of the most conscientious, well behaved, mellow, shy players on the court. I wouldn't be surprised if people wondered why Adam and I were a bit standoffish, and tended to keep to ourselves. Every one of these emotionally charged episodes took a toll on each of us, though we were adept at hiding this when out in public.

As difficult as it may have been for Adam and Me (as well as Kayla and Kevin, who were either watching or listening) imagine how Jordan must have felt. She perceived her younger sister as outplaying her, she lost total control and shouted angry, hurtful words to her parents: the two people who loved her more than anything in the world, and then she had to play in a game that caused her great anxiety, even on a good day.

Keep in mind, being on a basketball court is somewhat like being on a stage.(Which is ironic since Jordan participated in musicals and choirs throughout her four years of high school.) All eyes are on the players, possibly in a critical fashion. After being so frazzled, I had enough trouble watching and focusing on the game. I couldn't imagine having to remember specific plays while trying to get a big orange ball through a hoop hanging only a few feet from a bunch of competitive, protective parents..

Jordan was, and continues to be, one focused, tough cookie.

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sorry I Ruined Your Life, But I'm Your Mom

As most responsible parents would have done, we asked Jordan to admit that she pushed Kayla, and apologize for doing it.

What do you do when your eight year old refused not only to mutter the words "I'm sorry", but you feared the possibility that her head might actually burst, right before your eyes? We were in the midst of a HUGE meltdown. This was full blown, limbs-flailing meltdown, filled with screeching and shouting about how much she hated us. She was pissed. If you're anything like me, when faced with this level of rage, your instinct is to match it. But when it's your child, it's different. Yes, I was angry, but mixed in with the anger was confusion, shock, and fear.

My thought process was this; we needed to be at the gym on time. I guess one of us could have stayed home with Jordan, and the other have taken Kayla to the game, but this didn't seem like a viable option. Why, you ask? I'm not sure if it was the idea that; 'she committed to being on this team', or because I was worried about how to explain why she missed the game.

See... I wasn't always as open and honest about family issues as I am today.

Believe it or not, there was a positive ending to this whole fiasco. Jordan's head did eventually stop spinning, and she did apologize. Even better, we made it to the basketball game on time. This was progress. It really was. And after all that... she scored three baskets in a row.

Proof that despite the fact that sh*t happens, patience and love can guide families, and help life to continue moving in a positive direction.

Thank you.

Us Too

Monday, January 2, 2017

Healthy Family Competition. Yeah, Right

In 2008 Jordan tried out for the 3rd/4th grade travel basketball team, and she got a spot. She was quick and seemed to understand the rules and skills needed to play, although she appeared to lack a bit of the confidence, or comfort level, needed to play. She was one of those players who thought about all the moves and plays, and understood perfectly how each should be run. The problem was, being on a court with a bunch of young, competitive girls, was completely different than studying the plays on a play sheet.

During a game, when things got confusing or hyped up, she would kind of step back and become more of a spectator, than a player. At one point her coach, who was wonderfully positive and patient, said “Jordan, go for the orange thing." His comment cracked me up, because let's face it, along with a boat-load more internal frustration, I was thinking the same exact thing.

Jordan would practice shooting in our driveway for long periods of time, especially the day of a game. Before one particular game, she and Kayla were both practicing together. I knew nothing good could come from this, but I let nature take its course and hoped for the best. I can count on one hand the number of times our family game nights, family bike rides, and supposedly-fun local day trips, did not end with at least one miserable, angry, sobbing Beck family member, whether adult or child.

Kayla was a very aggressive player. She played fair, but when it came to defense, she was quick and relentless; like a shadow. Apparently Kayla's shadow-power took its toll on Jordan, so much so, that she pushed Kayla. Hard. Kayla went flying forward, and hit the ground.

Believe me, I understand competitiveness. I get that level of anger and the fulfilling feeling of retribution, but it needs to be done within the rules of the sport. Don't tell anyone, but I was somewhat impressed that Jordan entered into this new level of athleticism. I secretly hoped it would resurface during an actual game. But being the equitable, involved parents that we were, we felt the need to make one simple request; Jordan was asked to admit to pushing Kayla, and to apologize for doing it.

And when I say we made a simple request, I actually mean we had the nerve to ask a torturous, "how dare you", almost-humanly-impossible request.

Here we go again.

Thank you.

Us Too