Yankee Doodle went to town

Riding on her pony

Stuck a feather in her cap

And called it macaroni!


Ok, so why would anyone call a feather..macaroni?  This children’s rhyme has been going through my head all morning.  Today I’m convinced Yankee Doodle must have been a mother who had spent SO much time with her children she HAD to go to town BY HERSELF and do something silly.  Like put a feather in her cap and call it macaroni! 


Ok, weird start to a post titled disappointments, right? 


Well, I’m talking about our kids’ disappointments, which can be hard for parents to handle, too.


My Gabe is ten and growing like a weed.  He likes all kinds of things.  Legos, friends and certain sports top the list.  Oh, and let’s not forget food.  Food would be number one, my friends.  But back to sports.  He really enjoys football.


We registered for football in May.  Since then he has been weighing himself.  Why?  Because at his age when you’re over 95 lbs you’re the dreaded “red-lined.”  What is this crazy red-lining?  You have a red stripe on your helmet and you can only play line (Linebacker, Cornerback, Tackle).  You can’t run the ball and you can’t go past the first down.  It’s a league thing not our town thing.  And I’m guessing it’s a safety issue.  There’s usually only a couple boys that get red-lined.


Gabe likes to run the ball.  Not just tackle.  He wants to play different positions like Receiver or Running Back.  I get it.  Sounds like more fun to me, too.


So he’s been weighing himself all.summer.long.  Gabe is a big boy.  Not big as in round, but tall and muscular.  He is quite possibly the tallest boy on his 3rd and 4th grade football team.  And all this time he’s been weighing in around 94 lbs.  I reassured him he would be fine, not to worry about it.


Monday was the first football practice.  He weighed in at 100 lbs.  Red-lined.


He hid tears.  My heart plummeted.  He’s been worried about this for months.  He said he was going on a lettuce, egg shell and raw egg diet (remember, he’s 10.  And his Momma said no).


How do you react to your kids disappointments?  You want to fix their heartache, right?  Take away the pain and disappointment.


Well, I’m not gonna pitch a fit.  I’m not gonna argue with the coach.  Like I said, I’m sure it’s a safety thing.  I’m also not going to let him “diet.”  He’s not overweight.  Although I did tell him if he wants to cut out sweets and exercise more, I’m good with that.  That’s just plain healthy.  Do I think he’ll lose 5 pounds in the next 3 weeks before the first game? Uhm, no.


But in that moment, when he’s wiping away tears (pretending not to), what does a Momma do?  I had just heard a wonderful message about NOT fixing things for other people.  Not saying it was “going to be ok” cuz right then it wasn’t ok.  To just be there with them.  When people are hurting they don’t want you to say it’s gonna be ok, cuz it’s not.  Not yet, anyway. So I was torn. 


It came out kinda like this.


“I’m so sorry, buddy.  It will be ok.  Corner is one of the most important positions!  Gotta protect that quarterback, right?  Next year the weight limit goes way up and you’ll be ahead of the pack.  You’ll know how to play all kinds of positions.”  To saying…


“It sucks, buddy.  I know, it sucks.” (and he knows that’s not a word I prefer to hear and rarely say). 


Of course I didn’t do what I wanted to do–give him a great big hug. That wouldn’t look good in front of all his football buddies.


I realize it’s good to have disappointments as a kid.  The world isn’t fair.  And if you grow up and expect it to be…well, let’s just say you probably won’t be a productive member of society.  But it’s HARD.  Hard for kids and hard for Mommas. 


So we try our best as parents.  And we pray for our kids.  Pray that God will use these disappointments to make them more compassionate, more understanding, and someday–better adults.


Until then, who wants to go to town with me?  You provide the ponies, I got the feathers!  Macaroni, anyone?