My youngest son is one outgoing, impressionable ten-year-old. A few months ago I showed him a viral video of the BYU mascot doing a dance with the drill team for a football game’s half-time. In the middle of the dance somewhere they do a move I’ve always heard called “flossing.” It’s where put your hip between your straightened arms then shake your hips back and forth while your arms circle in front of you until they get to the other side where this hip will also go between your extended arms. This move can go on and on, from one hip to the other. Anyway, my son got such a kick out of it he’s been determined to get this move down for himself. At the most random moments—in stores, wrestling tournaments, while walking to school—the attempt to floss will start. His arms and hip wiggles are so extreme it’s hilarious to watch. Without fail he always says something like, “I think I’m getting it now.”
Oh, sweet love, he’s nowhere close to getting it, but I’m enjoying myself so much I bite my lips between my teeth to keep from laughing. “Mm-hmm, keep trying.” Any mom would be insane to deter this kind of entertainment.
My latest novel, Stuffed Souls, will be out in less than a month. One of the first characters you’ll meet is Beatrice. She’s not the most lovable of creatures, but oh…she is loyal—manically so. There is this righteous justice that makes up the core of her. It’s such a powerful belief she’s willing to do what most of us consider unthinkable—to kill and kill again—until revenge is complete. Characters like her are fun for me to write. In real life doing such a thing would land me behind bars, but in the land of make-believe anything is fair game. It’s awesome. Pick up your copy of Stuffed Souls on March 1st 2018.
This past weekend took us to another wrestling tournament for my high school son. To say he’s worked hard this year is an understatement. He cut fourteen pounds to attain his wrestling spot on the varsity team. He never misses practice. He runs on the weekend to maintain his weight and for conditioning. He’s done so many crunches I’m starting to worry he might end up permanently flexed in the stomach region when this is over. The kid has put every ounce of his heart on soul into this endeavor and yet it still doesn’t mean he always wins, which was the case for the double elimination tournament we just attended. I don’t know why he didn’t go to dad, but he ended up plopped down beside me, completely dejected.
“Why, mom?” He whispered fighting back tears, trying to not lose it in front of a crowd of onlookers. “I gave it everything I had, but I still lost. Why is it never enough?”
I’m supposed to be running the mat I’m sitting at, but I ignore the boys waiting to check in and wrap my arms around my son. Thankfully, nobody gave me any guff about it.
“Never?” I whisper back to my son. “Don’t forget you have won this season. Winning all the time is hard to do. Your opponent wants to win too, so they’re not going to just lay down and let you have the pin.”
I guess my words weren’t very comforting. He broke down and cried in earnest. I raised my finger to the approaching ref, signaling him to give me another minute then squeezed my son harder. “I know it sucks, but you can’t give up. Failures are really only failures if you stop trying.” I push him to stand. “So go get dressed and start again next week.”
I watched him leave wondering if having him wrestle was the worst thing I could have ever allowed as a mother, but then I happened to stumble upon something profound in the book I was reading that same evening. It’s from Oathbringer from Brandon Sanderson. “Failure is the mark of a life well lived. In turn, the only way to live without failure is to be of no use to anyone.”
He’s right. Coming up short happens a lot in life. Learning to deal with it at a young age could never be a bad thing. So wrestle on, my boy, you’re building character that will last you a lifetime.