Volleyball with the Tween

I love volleyball.  Now, so does my daughter.  We love hitting and playing together.  We both need to work on her passing game.  We took her to a volleyball training facility and enrolled her in a program.  Actually, 4 programs is what she committed to.

When she said she was able to try out for the volleyball team the dunning sixth grader started becoming competitive.

I think team sports is good for a child.  They teach good communication.  The only way we can get anything worth accomplishing in life is by being a member of the team.  She has never really been on a team until the program did a mini tournament.  This was the first time she lost.

Sitting in the back seat, she was pouting.  I asked her if she was upset because she didn’t get a medal like the first and second finishers.  She said Yes.  I said, well, you didn’t deserve it.  She said “thanks a lot mom, that makes me feel great.”  I said, you didn’t win.  This is how the real world works.  You don’t join something and show up and you get a medal for it.  She broke down and cried. This made her want to work harder.

She hated doing drills.  She hated having to serve over and over.  She hated practicing with someone who couldn’t hit the ball back to her.  She thought it was dumb.  She only wanted to play in the games.

Conversation after conversation with her telling her if she doesn’t create the muscle memory with the drills, her body won’t know how to pass it if the ball is hit to her at an awkward angle.  Of course, moms who actually played volleyball still know nothing so yet again the struggle to get her to practice and get engaged.

She did have some natural talent to actually get on the B level team at school  This was quite an accomplishment.  She was excited.  She is still excited to be on the team.

Their team is now 3-0 for the season.  They are winning.  She is serving pretty well.  At this level of the game, if you have a good serve, the other team can’t hit it back.  The game will be more competitive the older she gets but at least she knew how to lose.

I was so impressed with the group of her friends parents and her friends.  They showed up last night for the game and cheered her name out.   They encouraged her and shouted her name like she was a rock star.  Having good groups of families and friends who support and love your child means more to me than she will ever know.

Volleyball has given her a small level of confidence.  Volleyball has increased her fitness level.  Volleyball has connected our family and friends.  She still may not love practice but everyone loves winning.

 

 

Days of Faith with a Tween

We are raising our daughter Catholic.  She has been going with us to mass since she was born, short of a year or so where it was just so difficult to manage the “catholic calisthenics” with a 2 year old in your arms.

She went to Faith Formation (catechism) and had her first Communion and reconciliation. She will have her time for confirmation.  This is a time where most of her friends are getting baptized.  The Catholics believe in “one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.”

She is now a middle schooler entering the middle school program at the church designed called “the Edge”.

Her questions to me are when can she choose not to be a catholic.  She thought that her Sunday school was so boring because of the fact that she went to a Christian school whose verses and stories were all a big repeat on Sunday.  I told her until she knew enough to actually “teach” the class, she still had to go.

I want my daughter to have faith.  Faith will get her through the times of trouble.  Faith in a God who loves you and accepts you no matter what will get her through the times that she feels like she has no one on her side.  Although she knows I will love her no matter what she does, I want something deeper for her.

We visit other churches around our area and listen to podcasts of other churches to snoop on the other churches that we may want to visit.  We love the music and the messages.

I love speaking with the Deacons and Priests of the church as well.  They say that the ritual of mass is supposed to be repetitious in order so you will have more prayer time to be closer to God.  I had never thought that I would love the silent meditation time as much as I do.

It is amazing how 10 minutes of a Catholic priests sermon can feel like an hour and listening to other of the evangelistic ministers 35-50 minutes can breeze right by.  I really don’t care if my daughter thinks the sermon is boring or not.  She’ll have her time to choose where she wants to go but it is not right now.

I listened to Joyce Meyers stating how if “the devil is going to start a fight he is going to do it right before church.”  I have found that to be quite true.

My daughter especially dislikes the shaking of the hands and stating “peace be with you” part of the mass.  She would like to go to mass and sit as far away from everyone as possible so she doesn’t have to shake anyone’s hand or acknowledge that they are breathing.

I guess she didn’t get the part that if more than 2 people came together in the name of the lord that he will be present.

I want her to find her own path and find a group of people whom bring her joy in the storm of puberty.  I want her to be loved and accepted for who she is.  I want her to have a beautiful heart and spirit.  I want her to be grateful for every second she walks on the earth.  I don’t want her to feel like she has to please her friends in order to be accepted.  She has the right to follow her own path.

I asked God for a baby girl one Easter day in the Catholic mass because I was ready for her.  We had been trying for months.  One day, she was there.

Structure and worship as a family is not always easy.  It’s not easy for her being one of the few followers of the Catholic faith in her school.

I listened to one dying boy’s story and he speaks about fear in the face of death.  He said he was not afraid.  He saw himself as a part of God’s library.  His parents checked him out and lived his life and when it was his time, he returned to God’s library.  God owns us.  We are lent out to love and return back to him.

I thought this was profound.

 

 

The first week of sixth grade

“Mom, sixth grade is so hard.”

My always snappy reply to anything that my daughter states is hard is “Honey, everything is hard before it is easy.”  In this case, I didn’t say that because I get it.  Sixth grade IS hard.

What is hard about it for you?

“They give us so much work and there are so many books that are so heavy.  That boy that annoyed me is in every single one of my classes and he won’t leave me alone”.  And, the real kicker, there is a girl in my class with the same name!  Why do they have to put us in the same class?  I was the only one with that name in the whole school, now she is in my classes.  When we went for seconds at lunch the girls there threw off our cups and plates on the floor.”

I have to take one of these issues at a time.  I told her that her name might have gotten popular and thus going to her real first name or hyphenated first and middle name.  In the south, most people go by their middle names so this is not unheard of.

As far as the bullying girls, there is always going to be a pack of girls vying for who could be the biggest “b—-“.  My daughter is lucky that she has some very good long term friends that will stick together through all of this b.s.

That boy that bothers her, well, she will have to deal with him only when he is next to her.

As far as the school work, yep – suck it up.  It has been a piece of cake for the past 6 years at the school, now time and attention have to come into place.  When schoolwork comes easily, you can slide through without putting too much effort into things.  When there is a lot of it, you have to hanker down, get in there and focus.

Hormones, you-tube videos, musically, and all of the other distractions of social media dissolving brains will cause her to do anything other than study.

The good news for now is she has a physical outlet of having physical education every day and since she has made it onto the volleyball team, she has to focus there as well.  Physicality is good for kids.  Exercise makes the blood flow and makes them think about the task at hand.   A change in the environment is always good.

Encouragement of yes, I have been there too as far as everything she is going through.  Listening to her talking, I go through the same things she does even now.

Yes, honey, I wanted the prize and that woman wanted it too.  I didn’t stand up for myself and she took it right out from underneath of me.  (this happened 2 weeks ago to me).  I realized it didn’t really matter and I didn’t need another flower vase anyway.

Sometimes I just go and sit in her room with her.  I figure eventually she will want to talk.  I do have to encourage her to be nice to her dad.  She became uncontrollably upset when he thought the sandwich he had gotten her was still warm when it wasn’t and no sauce which caused her to throw the sandwich against the wall.  I had to let her know that we are there for her no matter what but nobody is going to be in her corner more than her dad at this point.

Raging hormones, changes in classes and changes in environment.  We still have a long road ahead but I know just being there through the storms of her changing will help us grow together.