She was on the verge of tears when she broke the news to me. Perhaps she knew I would be disappointed and she dreaded that. I heard the words but I didn’t want to listen, although I think I looked like I was. After over 4 years into the sport, Kate had made the decision to “take a break” from triathlon.
I don’t know how long I was staring at her even after she had spoken. It probably looked like my mind went blank, when in fact it was racing. At that very moment, I was in between decisions whether to make use of my position of authority and
command encourage her to maintain an athletic lifestyle. Or just burst out in tears before she could even shed her own, bringing out my inner drama queen. I needed to determine which role to act out fast. I am no longer a Tri-Mom. The title has been stripped from me. It was all a big wave of emotions. I knew my heart was breaking.
As if by instinct, I had put on the most understanding smile I could muster amidst the shock and the bitter pill that was melting in my mouth. I used up all my remaining energy to lift my arms out to her so I can give her a comforting hug. She returned my hug with an even tighter one and said, “Are you sad, Mama? I am so sorry.”
I found my voice and told her that triathlon was supposed to be fun and that it was okay if she decided to no longer pursue the sport. I also said, “I am not sad. If this makes you happy, then I am happy too.”