This past weekend I found myself in the middle of an unsolved case: The Case of the Missing Field Hockey Skort. While this may not initially sound like a major case, the unfolding of this event produced pure panic, angst and horror for everyone involved. You see, my daughter Estella is extremely passionate about playing field hockey. She lives for it! She strives to play harder, faster and better than she did in the previous game. And now that she is in middle school, competition is even harder, her emotions run higher and she can’t wait for her next opportunity to perform and support her team. However, not having the regulation uniform is one thing that could keep her benched and only participating as a mere spectator.
It began on Saturday, when Estella started gathering her uniform in preparation for Monday’s game. Both jerseys were accounted for, her socks, her shin guards, stick, mouth guard, eyewear…but there was NO BLACK SKORT! And that’s when Skortmageddon began. In a panic, she called to me because I am the one who is responsible for keeping up with her athletic gear, of course. So we searched the laundry…NO skort! We pulled out the drawers and everything in them…No Skort!! We were both on the hunt for the missing skort and while deep in the trenches I turned to see the anxiety settle in her face as she realized the consequences of not having that skort. Trying to be the voice of reason, I reassured her to be thorough and that if we kept looking we would find it. Hours later our house looked like a tornado had gone through it…and still NO Skort!!!!
Estella was in denial. She gathered up her black and white jerseys and a cute little purple and orange tennis skort as she reasoned that Coach would let her play as long as she had on her jersey. “What difference does it make what I wear”, she demanded. Exasperated and anxious she cried, “I just need to be ready to play!” Then she resolved, “Well I’ll just pay for another one. Let’s go to the store and I’ll buy it.” While I was proud of her for taking responsibility and trying to come up with a remedy, the truth is they are special order and not available in the store. It would take at least a week or more and at least a few games before she would receive it. Exhausted, angry and feeling defeated, she looked up at me with swollen watery eyes and I understood her silent plea without her ever saying a word.
Don’t you worry I told her, go to bed and I WILL FIND THAT SKORT! Behind the washer, in the car, did the cat take it? Your guess is as good as mine, because after a thorough search on Sunday it was nowhere to be found! But, as her mom I couldn’t let her down and so I persisted as skortgate continued. As Monday dawned, I was exhausted and finally had an epiphany; WE WILL SURVIVE WITHOUT THAT SKORT because I could not continue to throw our lives into complete chaos. As a parent I wanted to solve, soothe and fix things for Estella. But as a parent I am equally responsible for allowing her to experience pitfalls so that she can figure out how to navigate through them in the future.
As a mom I wanted to be a strong superhero and live up to the expectation that I could solve her problems and end her suffering. But the reality is that sometimes the superhero’s ability to save the day is accomplished with the power of a strong reality check. I had to reset the balance and I told her that I was proud of her solution and she could special order another skort. And then, through acceptance of reality, we both experienced the sweet taste of closure. Stay Strong and journey on!