A Conversation with Gabe

Last week, we sat down to dinner after school and soccer practice and the general craziness of a day and Gabe started crying when I said it was time for baseball.

He didn’t want to play baseball, he said.

I asked him why and he said he just didn’t like playing anymore.

I was upset, not because he was not going to play, but because we had already paid for the season and I had asked him 10 times if he was sure he wanted to play before we signed him up and he said yes.

It was one of those nights where everything piles up (including Olivia taking a Vaseline bath…oye…) and it leads to something that’s not a big deal at all seeming like a very big deal. Do you ever have those nights? Thought so. He cried, I cried and got mad, Matt got mad at me, I got mad at Matt, everyone was upset. Love nights like those.

Later on that night, when things had settled down, I went into Gabe’s room to say goodnight and to chat with him about baseball. I asked him why he said he wanted to play when he really didn’t. He said he thought I would be upset if he didn’t play. I shared with him that the reason I asked him ten times if he was sure he wanted to play was because I really was hoping he’d say no! Once you get to kid pitch, the games are l-ooooo-ng and boring and, as much as I’ll do anything my kids love, I knew he didn’t love it and was hoping he’d say no. But he said yes so I signed him up.

What ended up happening is we had a marvelous conversation about saying yes when you really mean no. We talked about how hard it is to say no when you think the person asking really wants you to say yes. So many things are coming up for him as he enters junior high next year and he’s going to have to be strong. We talked about what happens when your friend asks you to steal, buy beer, kiss a girl, cheat on a test, anything where you really want to say no but you think they’ll be upset if you do. I shared with him that it’s much, much harder to say no to someone you care about. I also shared with him that, by the ripe old age of 37, I’ve had my feelings hurt plenty of times and this wouldn’t have been the first. I shared that I’m a tough cookie and that he is stuck with me. He can hurt my feelings a million times and I’m still not going anywhere because I love him. And I shared with him that key point: if someone loves you, and really truly cares about you, they will stay and love you even if you say no.

Is there anything better than those every day conversations that turn into something so important? I don’t think so. I just hope he listened.


12 responses to “A Conversation with Gabe

  1. Love this post. I totally feel your frustration–I often find myself asking people the same thing over and over because I can TELL that they’re not giving me a true answer. And I totally feel Gabe–I HATE saying no to people, even now that I’m an “adult.” And kudos to you for turning a stressful situation into a “teachable moment” 😉

    • Tiffany Townsend

      Thanks, Jamie, for the comment love! It’s hard to take those frustrating moments and turn them into teaching moments. 🙂   Have a great day!!Tiffanywww.elastamom.com

  2. I think he heard you but I also think you’re going to have to have this conversation with him over and over and over again in the coming years. It’s great that you’re setting the ground work now, so he knows you’re there even when you’re feelings are hurt or you’re disappointed. He knows he can come to you when times are tough and that, my friend, is being a good mother.

  3. What a beautiful story! I’ve been writing a lot lately about my struggle with saying no. This is a great reminder that we’re role models for our kids. I love the way you approached the topic with Gabe. Bookmarking this one for sure!

    • Tiffany Townsend

      Thanks, Melissa! It’s not easy to say no! 🙂 Have a great day!!Tiffanywww.elastamom.com

  4. That just gave me chills. Dare I say that the opportunity for you to share that lesson with your son may have been worth the cost of the baseball season, even if he doesn’t end up finishing!

  5. I asked Cameron a million times about baseball as well but Cameron said he did NOT want to play. So we did not register him. Well, guess what? He changed his mind and said he DID want to play. Since Gabe drop out,
    it opened a spot for Cameron. It all worked out. I will admit though, I was a little disappointed to find out that I wouldn’t be able to chat during the games.

    • Tiffany Townsend

      I know! I was soooo bummed to not be able to chat with you, Kim and my friend Rhonda! Dang it all! 😉 Have a great day!!Tiffanywww.elastamom.com

  6. isn’t it amazing how those teachable moments come up! and they are teachable not only for our children, but also for us as parents! awesome job taking the situation and turning into something positive 🙂

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