Today, I was in need of some serious therapy. I hope you don't mind if I ramble a bit, but there is a lot on my mind. I needed a morning walk in the sand. I needed to smell the fresh salt air and cleanse myself and my thoughts. This is the lovely Honeymoon Island, in Dunedin, Florida, just about 25 minutes from my house.
I don't think I have ever drove to the beach by myself, and just meandered around, taking pictures, sitting on a swing, and looking at shells. This has been a big week in our house after 3 very tough years. All is good, so I don't want to sound all dramatic, but I think we are now turning the corner to a frustrating time in our lives. As you know my boys are swimmers, and the lovely young man living with us is here specifically to train with the swim coach, my oldest son has. This coach has been here for 3 years, and has really treated my oldest son very poorly. And I don't mean just a little bit, but has demeaned him, degraded him and made him feel much less of himself as a swimmer, and a person. I don't want to get into too many details, but we have tried, and tried again to get my son to leave, yet he has always stayed for his friends.
It has worn us all out, and we have told our son all the things the coach says are untrue, that he is good, worthy, and an exceptional swimmer. We have tried to figure all of this out, and the best we can come up with is not all coaches are good people, actually quite a few aren't. And if you get one, who has a huge ego, that has not been stroked by us parents, well then you get a coach who picks on one particular child to see if he can break him. I have had many swimmers, and other coaches tell me what the main coach has said to my son, it would make you gasp in horror if I told you. Yet, we could not convince our son to leave. First, he felt he could handle it, then he wanted to protect the other kids on the team. Finally, I think it became so common that my boy was used to it. We tried to talk to the coach, and most definitely kept talking to our son. It would be better for a while then something would set the coach off, nothing to do with my son of course, and he would be at it again. Sounds like an abusive relationship does it not?
You must think we are crazy to let this abuse go on. There were not a lot of options for a swimmer like my boy in this area. My son knew this, so he would not make the move. You can not force a 15/16/17 year old to leave a team. He is a pretty good swimmer, and if we forced him to leave, and he didn't do well, then he would blame us for the rest of our lives. It is sort of like being in a bad relationship, all your friends can see how horrible it is, but you can't make the move to leave until you are ready. There was no one to complain to, without possibly ruining my boys chances in the future. We have been stuck, waiting it out, waiting, and waiting.
Finally, on Thursday he decided he wasn't going to go back. He hasn't been sleeping, his grades have dropped as things have gotten worse. The coach hasn't been rude to my son just recently, but he has his favorites and he lets them do whatever they want, even if they cheat, or do far worse. Injustice is in itself a form of abuse. Finally, he has had enough. I am not sure what the future has in store for my son, but I know that he will be in a better place, anywhere he goes. I don't care if the new coaches don't make hard enough workouts, or challenges my son physically, mentally he will be in a better place. Hopefully, he can work this out and mentally regain his self worth as a swimmer, he is far too talented to give up. We are looking into other teams, even one in Sarasota 1 1/2 hours away, but anything will be better than what he has been through.
I had to clear my head about all of this today. You know if you are a mother or you mother others, that mother GUILT is a terrible thing. Could I have changed anything? Could I have made it better? I don't know, and I probably won't ever know. It is hard to think of how I would have handled it differently, especially when you are emotionally involved.
My son is growing up before my eyes. This is by far the toughest decision he has ever made. I am so proud of him. Not knowing the future can be terrifying, but I think the Universe provides for us, and my son will make it despite all of this. Or maybe he will make it because of all of this. Please keep him in your positive thoughts.