Holding Myself Back

“Her shoulders hit the ground before her feet did.”

A mum close to the sideline told me later. What I saw was the unmoving figure of my daughter from 100 metres away. She looked so little on the field of grass. Before I tell you about my reaction, I need to go back a little.

My daughter plays soccer in the under 13 unisex team.  Not yet 11, she is small compared some of the older boys and girls.  This fact doesn’t phase her; she’s a gutsy player.  This was her first game and our family was there to watch.

kids playing sport

Half way through the game, it began to rain. We had somewhere to go to after the game, so my husband and I gathered up the younger children and headed to the car to watch from there until the shower passed. This is where I was when I saw my daughter hit the ground. The fact that she didn’t move really got me.

In that moment, my heart sank to my stomach and my mind explored every terrible scenario possible. I felt hysterical.

“MAAAT!!” I screamed at my husband beside me. He was already out of the car and running down the field.  I felt torn: I wanted to run after him but I had the other children in the car and couldn’t leave them.  I watched my husband run the length of the field.  As he approached our daughter’s small form, I saw her rise slowly and walk into his arms.

I felt a surge of relief when I saw her move.  Still, my heart beat fast as I sat in the car watching to two figures, trying to decipher the body language from my position. My husband’s large frame held my daughter’s upright body in a hug.

I remember sitting in the car, having a battle with myself.  Everything in my heart was telling me to get everyone out of the car to see if my daughter was okay…but something in my head held me back.

After the initial panic subsided, I reasoned three things:

One: My husband is a doctor so I could trust he would look after her, and know if the situation was serious.

Two: Although I wanted to be the one there holding my daughter, comforting her, I felt I needed to give my husband this opportunity to be the one.

Three: I probably would go over the top, and it would be hard for my daughter, then, to keep it together.

After about 5 minutes, I watched my daughter run back on to the field while those on the sideline clapped.   She finished strong, and I was there waiting on the sideline when she came off the field. When I held her tears welled in her eyes.  I discovered a close range, high speed ball slammed into her head and the force knocked her to the ground. The shock of the hit had stunned her and she couldn’t move for a few minutes.

Later, I said to her, “Does this incident make you not want to play the game anymore?”  I said it on purpose, not because I wanted her to give up but to put it out there so we could talk about how she felt and how to combat it.

“No. I want to play, I just feel a bit shaky right now.”

It was one of those intense proud mother moments that I store in a special treasure box somewhere inside me.

The battle I had in the car that day, is a reflection of how I struggle as the kids get older.  The process of letting go can be hard, especially when there is a possibility that harm may come in the form of physical and emotional pain. I can’t protect my kids from everything, nor would it be good for me to always do so.

Sometimes I hold myself back to allow my children the freedom to grow and learn.  Sometimes I hold myself back from micro managing. Sometimes I hold myself back to allow space for other important people in my children’s life.

But then, sometimes too, I want to hold my big girl, just like a baby again, and make sure nothing bad ever happens to her.

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  • Reply
    April 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Aww beautiful Kelly, and I’m so glad she is okay.

  • Reply
    Maid In Australia
    April 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Oh yes. This. I understand this.

  • Reply
    Erin @ Lohtown Life
    April 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Great post! Hard to let our kids become more independent (and well done on letting your husband be “the one” too – I know how tricky it can be when I just want to be protective mum!)

  • Reply
    Christie-Childhood 101
    April 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I have tears as I read your post, what a brave mama you are, I am sure that I would have been much less controlled, in fact I probably would have been running across the field like a maniac without a second thought! Thank you for the valuable lesson.

    • Reply
      April 24, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      LOL I have a mental picture now, and believe me, in my mind I was running madly in the middle of the field. x

  • Reply
    Belinda Brennan
    April 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I totally understand. My daughter also plays under 13s soccer, this is her 4th year at soccer and she has been slammed in the face and down she goes several times. I agree it takes every ounce of being not to run onto the field. She loves the game and isn’t the least bit deterred.
    sometimes I think it is us parents that need to “toughen up” more so than the kids.

    • Reply
      April 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Your daughter sounds like such a spunk! Much like my own daughter 🙂 Yes, I do think I need to toughen up more too!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Glad to hear that she is doing ok. Sounded very scary. I am struggling with the same thing at the moment. Your comment about: ”Although I wanted to be the one there holding my daughter, comforting her, I felt I needed to give my husband this opportunity to be the one” resonates very strongly with me right now. I have 15 days before I go under to have major ankle surgery; my ankle joint needs to be fused. This will leave me needing to rest in bed with my leg up for 8 weeks. I have 2 young children, my daughter is 6 and in grade 1, and my son is 4 and in kindergarten. Apart from my feeling that I will be missing the day to day things with my children (Hubby is taking the 8 weeks off), both of my kids have health issues. This year alone, my daughter was in hospital for a week with a superbug; she has kidney/bladder/bowel problems. My son has spent over 6 months of his life when he was younger, including a month on life support in intensive care, resulting in him now having narrow airways and severe asthma, so when he has a respiratory illness like a cold, he gets very sick; he too has been in hospital just last week. I have to spend 8 weeks in bed and am petrified that my kids will get sick during that time. But, I have no choice. As you said, this is the time to: “give my husband this opportunity to be the one.”

    • Reply
      April 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      Goodness Kirsty! You have a lot on your plate at the moment! I hope your surgery goes well and you recover really quickly. I can totally understand how it going to be tough for you to have to take a step back. ((hugs))

  • Reply
    Deb @ Bright & Precious
    April 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Gosh, Kelly, my heart sank while I read this. I could feel your emotions. How scary. And the mixture of fear and letting go – I totally get that. So glad she’s okay. x

    • Reply
      April 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Was scary! I’m glad all is well. x

  • Reply
    April 24, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Well done on standing back. It’s soooooo hard when you just went to run up and scoop them into your arms and make it all better. But I too make myself stand back and let hubby step in when he’s around. I think it’s really important that they get to play the hero role at times, because us mummy’s tend to get lots of hero, cuddle time that they don’t. Glad she’s okay. xo

    • Reply
      April 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      That’s exactly it.

  • Reply
    Tracey Hutchings
    April 25, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Thank you for this post. I once heard someone say that as parents our aim is to do ourselves out of a job… we have to gradually step back and let them take care of themselves more and more… until eventually they are adults and can really take care of themselves…

  • Reply
    April 25, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Your little girl sounds incredible and well on her way (with the help of her Mum) to being a strong and amazing woman.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    This really tugged my heart. I can tell already that I’ll need every single moment of the years between now and then and all the little ‘letting go’s’ to get ready for the big ones!! I just try to remember that he’s not mine to keep forever, just to grow and nurture and set free. Dang, I get choked up just thinking about it!!!

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