If my son is the one who got pinned, why am I the one who’s crying?

If you tuned in last week, you know that I am doing my best to be a good ‘wrestling’ mom. Well, my reluctant wrestler got pinned, and it was hell to watch. Possibly worse than actually being the one who got pinned, evidenced by the fact that he stood up, walked off the mat, shook hands with the coaches and promptly asked me for Gatorade money.

Because I had eyes full of salt water, I might have given him a $10, which now makes me want to cry all over again.

I actually thought the full grown gunther who eventually pinned my son was the other team’s coach, until he unzipped the burly-man coat he clearly purchased at the Big and Tall(er than my son) sale, and walked onto the mat.

Not to belabor the point, but he even had back hair.

Okay, I’ll admit, my son’s opponent has aged and gotten furrier in my mind in the re-lived moments since the actual match. By next week, my recollection will be of my son having wrestled Sasquatch’s Harrier Uncle Badass.

But, I’m his mom, and this is what we do.

It’s hard to see our kids struggle, and not be able to help them. Yes, it’s all part of growing up. Yes, we let them go to face challenges on their own- to wrestle with the harder stuff of life- because it is what will help them be successful, autonomous adults who know how to conduct themselves in the world. Yes yes yes, I already know. I’m just saying it’s hard. And sometimes that translates to salt water overflowing from my tear ducts- from sadness, joy, guilt, pride, vicarious hurt- it’s complicated. Like motherhood.

Point is, it’s hard to see our kids get pinned, actually or metaphorically.

But then, that’s life, right? Sometimes we lose in a more gradual way, ‘on points,’ which leaves room for rationale, group level ‘what if’s,’ excuses even. And sometimes we get pinned, and there’s nothing to do but say, “yup, life pinned me all right,” and pick ourselves up off that mat, shake hands with the other guy and get ready to do it all over again.

The fact that the mat smells really badly can only help with the ‘get up’ factor. Also, just in case my sons are reading this—a good shower in between life’s ‘wrestling’ matches, metaphorical and literal, makes a world of different (to your mother).

Thanks (yet again) to my friend Bob Stulmaker, former Head Coach for Saratoga Springs High School, I watched my son’s match instead of hiding my head in my purse, and I am glad I did. Because I owe it tmson to witness him wrestle, to see and recognize the stark reality of his courage, and his effort to do his best in a hard situation. There’s something to having someone be radically present in our tough times that can make them real at a new level. I was painfully, and so very proudly present.

My son got pinned twice in this meet, the second time by the Brawny Towel Man’s bigger cousin Tree Trunk McNormous.

He faced both of them with guts, a positive attitude and the signature stubbornness that has at times driven me to an early afternoon glass of cabernet. But that day, it brought me reassurance that he will face the world with the best of what he has in the moment, and that’s all I can ask.

My husband, Jon, summed it up well, “all sports are a metaphor for wrestling, and wrestling is a metaphor for life.”

So be it, son, and I’ll be watching.

Are you a wrestling mom? I’d love to hear from you! @CoreyJamisonLLC

This blog was originally published by the Times Union and can be accessed here.

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