A few nights ago as I was putting my seven year old to bed she started crying uncontrollably. It was late and she'd been going non-stop all day, so this meltdown wasn't surprising me. I was, however, unsure of the root of the problem so I asked her what could possibly be so devastating at 9:30 at night. She told me, dead serious, that she was upset that she couldn't do a perfect cartwheel. Well that was a totally understandable reason to break down. I tried to comfort her by telling her that she was, in fact, great at cartwheels (not so, but I'm a mom and she's seven). She wasn't buying that. So I explained that she needed to keep practicing to get really good at them. Through her tears she said, but "I want to be good now." I tried not to laugh and thought to myself how many times I wished I was just good at running now, without having to put in the time and hard work. Knowing that the voice of reason was not going to get me anywhere at this point I tried anyway. "I've been running for years and I'm still not winning all the races. I wish I could wake up tomorrow and be the best runner out there, but it doesn't happen that way. I get up and run each day because it's the only way for me to get better. " She fumed and angrily said that wasn't true...."you bring home awards and medals all the time, mom." At this point I was starting to lose my patience but I kept going. I explained that in many of the races that I do, ALL the runners get medals and, yes, in some I win awards, but those are typically in my age group, so people are still beating me. Then I smiled then and said, "the last big race I did I came in 182nd place. I wish I had been first, but that would take a lot more practice (and some magic beans, but I didn't say that part)". Her lids were starting to fall and I could tell she was losing the will to fight. She still wasn't happy about the whole situation but she told me she was done for the time being and wanted to go to bed. Hallelujah! The next day, I would remind her of our conversation and hope that I didn't sound too much like a mom when I explained (again) that nothing happens overnight, practice makes perfect, and nothing is as bad as it seemed after a good night's sleep. Then I would take my own advice and run!
Listen to this:
Ruin - Cat Power