1 (v) perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one's proficiency.
2 (n) the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use: (definition via google)
Practice. This is a word that has been presenting itself in conversations for the last couple of weeks. I finally looked at and embraced it after having a conversation with my oldest, 15-year-old son. We were talking about swimming while driving home from practice. He swims on his high school swim team. We were talking about practice and finding our pace. I was telling him that after watching him swim, it looks like he could pick up the pace a bit now that he has been practicing so much and appears to be stronger. He was reluctant to accept my suggestion and told me how important it is to pace yourself in the long races. I agreed but persisted with the fact that he is ready. He disagreed. Then I, knowing what I call - The Mom affect/effect, can make these conversations go south, stopped and said, “Well, ask Coach. See what he says.” Sure enough during the next practice, he reported that coach told him he should pick up the pace. I cheered inside, but casually said, “That’s great.” I smiled, ‘cause moms know, we just knoooow! Our conversation continued on our car ride home. I love our conversations in the car. I’m not sure what the car magic is, but it is where many an ‘aha’ moment is had and realized. They keep me grounded and humble, but mostly they inspire me to do better and be better. They inspire me to continue my practice at being their ever learning and evolving mother. And just when I think I have it down and think we’ve all found our pace, something happens or changes and I do a full-fledged belly flop in my reaction to the moment. I let my kneejerk need to control all things, to make them see what I see, and to know that I know, take over. Of course, I know and see better where they are heading, and what they should be doing, but they don’t know that I know. All they know during this belly flop smackdown of a moment is that mom is acting a little nutty and she doesn’t understand, and so they wait me out and unplug from my wisdom and knowing that has shown up disguised in the form of a banshee. I hate failure to mom moments. When I let fear lead the way - my fear of letting them fail or fly, my failure to let go. This is not how I want my mom practice to go. So I regroup and begin again, and again, and a-freaking-gain. Practice, practice, practice. Helping my children find their stride in a fast-paced world is difficult. The dangers are real and parental fears are not unfounded. We raise them up to watch them go. But we want them to go fully armored and ready for battle when in the world without us. As much as we may want to bubble wrap them and hold on, we only hinder them in their ability to use their own arms and legs to streamline and find balance. We all know this, but watching them choose something they shouldn’t, or behave in a way without thinking about the consequences, influenced by peers who do not meet our approval, is angst producing. I could give daily, sometimes hourly examples, but mostly I could give my own personal examples of selfishness, immaturity, and impulsivity acted upon. Experiences I have learned the hard way from and now fear my children will have to also. And you know what, they will. Letting go. It ain’t for the faint of heart. No matter how much we talk, teach, guide, instruct, and show the way, they will detour. The truth is we are preparing them for the fall as best we can. If anything, we push them closer to it unprepared, when we don't let go. Damn it! Now that is a scary thought. A thought that brings me back to the word, - Practice - perform, exercise and apply. Sounds a bit like the instructions on a Shampoo bottle. All it needs is a rinse and repeat, which I will add to my practice at being the mom. I will execute my duties of motherhood with a sound mind (no comments from the peanut gallery) and able body with the application of the serenity prayer. I will change the things I can while accepting the things I cannot and pray for the banshee wisdom to know the difference. I will practice the care of removing the giant plank in my own eye first so I can see clearly and help my children remove the speck from theirs. I will practice the pause with less lecture and more honest stories, so I can stay connected to theirs. I will invite the fears, both real and perceived, to dinner so more practiced conversation can be had in our effort to understand the moments that challenge and change us. This is the plan anyway, which is part of the practice too
So let it be written, so let it be done.