Like so many of you reading this, I’m currently riding shotgun in a truck packed with gear and bags and bikes galore. My kids alternate from giggles to arguing. My husband’s choice in driving soundtrack is not mine, but tolerable.
This is a road trip.
It’s not any road trip, though. It’s THE road trip. We’re headed to Tulsa. We’re headed to The Grands.
I want to say it’s all fun and games. But it’s not. We’re stressed. It’s not an exaggeration. Our nerves are frayed. Every screech from the smallest child is like a shrill dagger, the oldest’s inability to follow directions wears our parental sensibilities thin. I can’t even focus on composing this piece. After every five words I type someone needs something. The big kid needs his tablet. The little kid needs crayons. But not the red one. No, not the orange one. Yes, the red one. My husband needs snacks or an update on the GPS or for me to make the little kid stop squawking about the godforsaken crayons so he can take a work phone call.
I’m excited. I’m nervous. Jesse Soprano on caffeine pills has nothing on me. Anxious doesn’t begin to describe the feeling building inside my gut. I’m anticipating the practices, the races, the results. It’s hard to shut it all off and tell myself it’s done. We’ve done all we could to help our racer be successful.
I mean, we have, right?
I find myself reflecting on the past 11 months and everything we’ve done since the last Grands. I’m picking apart our decisions as parents. Did my husband get the bike tuned exactly right? Did we go to the right races? Did we send him to the right camp? Work with the right coaches? Did I make the right meals to fuel his growing body? Was I supportive when he was sad and needed comforting, but stern when he needed picked up by the bootstraps?
I want to say Yes! We did it all! But really, we didn’t. I raised my voice too many times, I lost my cool. There’s always more we could have done. There’s always something else. Instead of thinking about all of the things we didn’t do enough of or didn’t do right, I reflect on the things that we did get correct. We gave hugs and kisses. We did the gym and driveway sprints as a family. We gave pep talks. We listened to pump up music with all the bad words and let him sing along because it makes him happy and excited. We were enough. We are enough.
As a parent, I often question myself. I need to be reminded that perfection isn’t humanly possible, but striving for is. We tried. Sometimes we fail, but we try. It’s in the effort where we find the outcome, not in the final destination.
A factory team owner made a comment on a social media about how Grands isn’t the end of the annual journey in BMX racing, but merely a stop on the way. I interpret that as the journey is the collective of the experiences throughout the year- the arrival is in the reflection of the year’s worth of memories.
It’s okay to be nervous for your kid. It’s okay to be excited. Hell, it’s okay to be disappointed with a result this weekend if you find yourself standing short of your family’s goal for the year. But when the NAG plates are passed out, the celebrations of champions and the cries of defeat have stopped, what will you be left with? Where will your child stand? There’s those memories of the year. The collection of moments. The experiences.
This is your chance to reflect on your time with your family, be it blood or BMX. Revel in it. In these last stretches of the long drives or flights, remember to take a deep breath. You are enough. Your child is enough. This year was enough. And begin anew.
Originally Posted November 23, 2016 www.facebook.com/journalbmx