Turn Around and Swim

Life | Lessons | Laughter | Love


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Protein Shakes and Fumble Fakes

FullSizeRender-2Some consider summer a time of leisure and lazy days.  If you’re into that kind of lifestyle, I sure bet it’s quite like that.  Sipping lemonade and sweet tea on the porch while the sun sets and fireflies make their way across the freshly cut lawn.  The lawn that is greener than green because you actually have the time to care for it.  Then you mosey on in to your covered patio with a Sangria night cap protected from the evening bats and mosquitos.  It all seems absolutely blissful.  I often dream of this leisure way of living but right now, I am on mom mode supercharged and supersized times three.

See I envy you and your leisurely ways of life.  But right now my summer and early Fall was filled with protein shakes and fumble fakes.  We spent summer nights traveling back and forth from OTA’s and two-a-days.  We played Friday Night Lights of a different kind with baseball bats and dust covered hats.  We watched sunsets on practice fields and swatted bees and mosquitos at football games and baseball games.  We blistered in the sun, sweating in places the human body is even surprised.  The last few weeks were spent on cold, damp bleachers where Thursday summer eves FullSizeRender-5turned into Thursday Night Lights.  These nights we were fully immersed in extra layers, cozy spirit wear blankets and hot cocoa straight out of concession stands.  I can assure you it was not Polar Express kind as thick and rich and creamy as hot cocoa can get.  It was Carnation packets emptied into scolding water.  But it was football delight!

Because despite summer porch nights being replaced with team ice cream socials and protein shakes and tenth meals of the day, it was our summer and Fall life.  We wouldn’t trade it for the sweetest of teas or most glorious of sunsets.  Because there is something greater that happens beyond the football pads, baseball hats and fold-up chairs permanently affixed in your trunk.  There is this sweet little thing called a sports family.  FullSizeRender-3

It’s the people who check in to remind you what color socks to wear.  It’s the people who send you an early morning text to wish your boys good luck.  It’s the people who help you transport your kids when you have to be at another field.  It’s the grandparents of other kids who treat yours as if they are their own.  It’s every parent who catches your child in a photograph during that incredible play you missed because you got stuck in a port-a-potty.

It is the coach who runs after you post game to tell you how truly proud of your child FullSizeRenderthey were during that game today.  It is the parent who runs down to make sure your child will get up again.  It is the coach who calls you to tell you he won’t let your child miss another game for a less than stellar test score.  It’s the teachers who stay late to help make that happen and the ones who come in early.  It’s the parent who takes your child home from school and to practice so you can trek across town to watch another.

It’s everyone you least expected to be there for you and your kids that have proven to be there through thick and thin.  It is your sports family.  They don’t just disappear when the season ends and the scoreboard dims.  They ride out every hurdle, hiccup, great play and carpool need until the season begins again next year.

They share the teary eyes and wider than grin smiles with you and your children.  They share in the high fives and bumps and bruises.  They let you know your son is in an ice bath and he will be right out “so hang tight, Mom”.  It’s the parent that looks back in the stands and shares a moment because they just watched that play involving your child too.   It’s the “I got your back” moments when you just don’t have the words to express your need.

Then there’s the ones who remain silent and out of nowhere send you a text that says….”PS, you rock and NEVER stop being mom!”  It is a moment like that which melts your heart and makes you smile.  Because sometimes we get defeated being all in for our children.  We feel under appreciated and worn out.  We dream of lazy summer days and cozy Fall nights.  Then we get that wink, that high five, that hug or thank you from a player, maybe not even your own, that makes it all worth it!

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Little League Moment in Buddha Fashion

In one final rally, the boys tried to hold on to their lead to advance to the next round of the 9u baseball playoffs. It was not in their cards. Not this time. Not this year. Not this season.

I went over to the dugout after Noochie’s last “at bat” and saw the tears welled up in his eyes. He was never going to release them but they were there, they were real and yet he wasn’t going to let them be in charge.

He held his head up high and congratulated every member of the other team. He thanked his coaches and teammates and he looked at me in Mogwai glances and then we headed to the car.

The silence overcame us as we drove off and made our way to get his other brother at football. When we arrived, he said to me, “I’m running to the “restroom”. Which for where we were, translated to the top of the football field hill and into the woods.

As time passed it dawned on me he had not yet returned to the car. I looked up the hill and there he was, in Buddha fashion, sitting cross-legged and reflecting.

I knew exactly what he needed from the moment. I knew exactly what he was reflecting on. I knew he would work it out within himself to regroup and move on. I knew he let the tears, finally take charge.

When he returned to the vehicle he was more at peace with himself. The somber look dissipated and he was humbled. I asked him if he was alright and he replied, “I’m better now, it’s hard, I don’t want the season to end and I wanted my final game to be better than the way I performed. But I looked the other way towards my football practice field and I’m ready to transition to that game. I’m not letting myself down because I learned a lot. I’m just ready to be a better version of me next year.”

Ten years old and so wise beyond his years.

We talk a lot about mindfulness. We talk about communicating with each other and unconditionally supporting our little family of four, the boys and I.  They have seen me at both states. Those were I let the moment take control of me and other times when I stayed grounded and mindful. Yet, of all of us, he can practice this trait the best.

Mindfulness.

He is a constant reminder to me of what’s truly important. When to acknowledge it’s sometimes best to head for the hill. When to engage and when to simply just walk away; sometimes not even turning back.

The field dust will always be there behind us and the emptiness that takes over the bases, mound and plate sometimes is a reality. But what really matters is taking what you learned from every base, every hit and strike out, every walk and every run and make the next time around, a better version of you.