Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Benjy has found a cool new sport: fencing. It's a good thing, because my boy's sport history is a tortured one indeed.

First there were the general playground and PE games in which every kid has the "pleasure" of participating. Ugh. Those did not go well.

Then there was basketball. He dribbled armpit high and desperately wanted someone to pass him the ball. No one did.

Then there was soccer. Starting soccer at the age of 11 in a competitive town when you've never played before, is, in hindsight, a wretched idea. Whose idea was that, anyway? (I think it was Ben's, actually. But why oh why did I say yes?)

Now there is fencing, and so far so good. He liked it from day one. And seems to have something of an aptitude. No, he's not the best in the class. He's not even number three. But he is focused and disciplined, and he demonstrates some precision.

What he does not exhibit is aggressiveness. We are encouraging him to get in there before the other guy (or girl) gets in there. To be proactive and not reactive. Assertive and not apologetic. To be a little less nice. For Ben -- hell, for all of us Delaunays -- that is really, really hard.

And there have been some interactions with another boy, someone I think Ben had hoped might become a friend, that have been difficult. Which is compounded by the fact that this other boy is usually Ben's partner, and is probably a better fencer. And he jabs REALLY HARD. Apparently those little buttons on the end of the foils don't help all that much.

Well, okay, I guess they prevent death. So that's a good thing. They just don't prevent pain and bruising -- physical or emotional.

So fencing has entered our lives, and that's a good thing. If I can protect Ben from emotional hurt while encouraging his participation in this amazing sport I will.

And maybe I will even learn to let go and worry less. Accept that I can't always protect him from sadness or unkindness, that he has to deal with those things on his own.

Ben's lesson is to be more assertive, with and without the foil. Mine is to JUST LET GO a little bit.

I know a lot of you readers live this same challenge. Tell me about it and remind me I'm not alone? Thanks.


  1. It's so hard, but so important to let go just a little. I know you're worried. I was worried beyond belief when my daughter rode/jumped horses so much larger than she was. I couldn't watch because I didn't want my fear to spoil something she loved. Maybe Lars could take Ben to fencing some of the time so that you wouldn't have to watch every move and be so stressed.

    1. Thank you so much, Anon, for your kind thoughts. It helps to know others have struggled with similar things. How did your daughter feel about you not watching her ride?