The "End" Game
Final match is over, ending a four-year collegiate tennis career. A dream had been realized, lived and completed. With every game and match, the end progressed closer. Love and passion could not prolong its inevitability. It would end. This was that day.
With everyone gone, two seniors plopped in the middle of the courts. An hour passed, reminiscing about fun, challenges, failures and successes. This self-induced therapy released sadness and cultivated thanksgiving. These courts demanded skill and extracted countless hours of energy. These two had given the best of themselves. This was a "family" place — a second home. Stepping on a court was second nature, a place of familiarity, comfort. It was rightful and fitting that they end here.
They faced it as every other challenge, together, as teammates do. This place flooded them with positive life experiences and lifetime memories. Lessons learned will now translate to courtside life; utilized still serving them well.
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." - Dr.Seuss
As the tennis mom, this day brought emotion. One with more tears than smiles. A milestone accomplished, a dream brought to life, but it had its limits and it fell as a judge's gavel — hard, quick and jolting. For four years time ticked down, yet its realization somehow unexpected. The joy, elation and fun of cheering finished. It was a moving on mixed with wanting to hold tight. Sadly, I would never again watch her compete, win or lose. To be honest, she and her co-captain were handling it better than me.
They taught me a huge lesson, which was summarized the next day, when her teammate posted this quote, "Don't cry because it is over. Smile that it happened." (attributed to Dr. Seuss). Like a dart to the heart, I knew it was posted for me! They shared some emotion, but were overjoyed and thankful for what the experience afforded them. Handling the ending — as they had the beginning, middle, and every point in-between — with sportsmanship and grace.
Had I taught her this and forgotten it myself? Or, had others infused this wisdom? Either way, it is a lesson worth remembering when facing any ending from birth to death. There is always sadness in loss, but there should be more joy and thanksgiving in the realization that it happened.
Life will be filled with endings. What a wonderful gift to teach children these simple, yet compelling words and to let them sink into their impressionable spirits. Be happy for the experiences life gives, take joy in the journey. Concentrating on the past only steals time from the future. Live with thankfulness, carry forward the lessons; live in the present.
Excerpt from "Helping children cope with change" by Jeanne Burns
Who Can Make a Difference?
As parents you hold the key in this ever-changing world to providing a sense of safety and assurance in your children's world. Nothing else, whether a person or an item, can encourage a child to feel at peace with his or her situation like a loving, involved, dependable parent.
Therefore, whatever the change occurring in a child's life, the best prescription for coping with that change is to have a reassuring parent who is living through it with the child.
What Can a Parent Do?
What can a parent do to help a child learn to deal with the inevitable change that occurs as a part of life experiences? Here are some suggested opportunities for positive input:
* Be available. A child handles all of life better if a parent is fully present.
* Be intentional. Think ahead. Prepare your child, if at all possible, for any change in life. If the totally unexpected does occur, your preparedness is one step ahead in dealing with it.
* Be involved. You are not a spectator. You are an intricate element in your child's life, whatever is occurring. Participate fully.
* Be informed. Have as many answers as possible and educate yourself in advance about things you anticipate or things that could occur.