May I brag for just a moment to the blogosphere about my son who not only failed his eye test last week – but also came up considerably short on two other occasions within a 24 hour period?

The first screw up was his book report.  Any parent who has a kid matriculating in our school district is well aware of the fourth grade BOOK SHARE in which a substantial written report, visual aid and oral presentation is required.  The assignment was given way back in November.  Chase enthusiastically chose a longer book, The Lightening Thief, and I enthusiastically worked with him to set a timeline so that he would not find himself rushed to complete the report the day before it was due. 

He did a great job sticking to my this schedule. Each week he conquered a new chapter, summarized the story, and worked on his visual aid – a replica of Zeus’ master bolt.  Along the way, I would gently remind him of his milestones schedule and he would respond, usually appropriately.  I would also have to remind Dave of the schedule as he was in charge of assisting in the major construction of the visual aid.  You see Dave and I are both helicopter parents.  The difference is I hover in my helicopter; he pushes the boys out and lets them find their own way home.  Suffice it to say we have different parenting styles.  But thankfully everyone fell in line with my plan and it paid off.  Thursday night, the night before the bookshare was due, I told Chase how proud I was of him for getting it all done on time.

Are you ready for tomorrow?
Uh, Mom?  The book share was due today.

At this point everything goes into slow motion as the endless weeks of making sure my kid stayed on schedule was all for naught because we screwed up the due date.  I think my head rotated 360 degrees.

Its OK, Mom.  I just got five points taken off. 

Clearly he was unaffected.

Five points!!!!!!!!  More head spinning.
Mom!  Chill.  It’s fine.  We screwed up.  Relax.

And so I did.  On the outside.  Because he is right.  It’s fourth grade. 

The next day was the Boy Scout Pinewood Derby.  This event had also been several weeks in the making. Dave and Chase built a car to race based on a dream Chase had one night.  Together they designed the car, cut, sanded, and painted it according to the deep REM brainwaves of a 10 year old.  I must say, it looked really cool.  They named it — what else — “The Dream”.  I refrained from mentioning the obvious – that it sounded like a new character from The Jersey Shore. 

Cut to the race.  “The Dream” came in dead last in every heat.  Not second to last.  Last.  Every time.  It was one of the first cars eliminated.

I scanned my son’s face for any sign of pain, at the ready to bribe with a new video game or trip to the Dairy Queen.  Trembling lip?  Watery eyes?  Forced smile?  Nope.  Nope. Nope.  Clearly he was unaffected.  It wasn’t about winning – it was about having the chance to play.

One of the hardest things I have to do as a parent is let my kid fail.  Last week Chase proved that he is so much better at failing than I am at letting him. And I am prouder of his unflappable attitude in the face of failure than I am of all the victories he will ever earn.   

They say when you lose, don’t lose the lesson.  These losses may have been his, but the lesson was all mine.

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