My apologies for a delay in updating my blog. My kids have been sick. I think everyone’s children have been sick; it’s just that time of year. Thankfully, we did not have the flu- but we had everything else it seems.
However, as I mentioned in my earlier blog, there are always hidden blessings when life does not go as planned, and despite the germs, we have done some celebrating in our house. My husband and I celebrated our anniversary; and my son celebrated finishing his first 5K “run”.
I use the word “run” loosely. It was a “race” that his school held and all of his friends were doing it, so he wanted to as well. But let me take a step back and tell you two things: 1) his friends spent the fall semester preparing for this race in an after school program called Junior Joggers, and 2) my son is not a runner. He can hit a baseball; he can stop most goals in soccer; he can shoot a three-point shot. But I always say, it’s a good thing he can hit and shoot, because he can not run. Yet he did - and he didn’t.
He ran the first 100 yards of the 5K and was done. DONE. His friends kept running, but he and I walked. We walked and we talked. We talked about coming in last (which we did - well, he didn’t…he came in 2nd to last; I came in last); we talked about not being good at everything; we talked about supporting your friends and teammates. These were big topics for a 7-year-old who was sad that all his friends were faster than he was, yet they were great life-lessons for all of us. And he never gave up. I was so proud of him for not once asking to stop. (Even when I said, “Are you sure you want to finish?” He looked at me like I was crazy - yet I was just afraid everyone would have gone home by the time we crossed the finish line.)
I was wrong. With that same 100 yards left to go, we turned a corner and saw all his friends - long finished with their race - standing there and cheering for him until he crossed the finish line. It was the biggest smile I had seen in a long time - through my own tears of pride. Pride in my son for not giving up. Pride in his friends for being good friends. And pride in our school and community for raising leaders by example. Last place was something to celebrate.
There are very few things I enjoy more on a fall Saturday afternoon than tailgating with friends before a college football game. Living in Annapolis, this usually means tailgating before Navy games with our Annapolis friends. So when Navy traveled to South Bend to play Notre Dame today, we decided to “tailgate” at our house to watch the game with many of these same friends. I had it all planned out.
I should have known better. Last night, both of my kids were sick; high fever, upset stomach, thankfully (according to the pediatrician) just a virus and not the flu.
When I told my oldest son that our party was cancelled, he was disappointed and I spent the next several minutes sitting with him on the couch trying to find the “good side” of our altered plans. It was a great “life lesson” moment and I didn’t even realize it. I think he finally understood me when I said, “Well, at least the game is in South Bend and we can still watch it on TV. If the game was in Maryland and you were sick, we wouldn’t be able to go.”
In life’s disappointments, there are always blessings if you are willing and able to see them. Instead of spending today cooking, baking, cleaning up the house, and running last minute errands, I sat on the couch snuggled with my boys, windows slightly open enjoying the breeze. Not a bad way to spend a fall Saturday afternoon.
I was thankful yesterday when my children asked me about Halloween: why we had it and where it came from. It gave me the opportunity to share with them the background of the holiday that made it (hopefully) a bit more meaningful than dressing up and collecting candy (although that’s pretty darn fun when you are five and seven!)
Today is All Saints’ Day, followed by All Souls’ Day tomorrow, and I enjoyed talking to my children about honoring those we love who have gone before us. One of my sons asked, “Who are my ancestors?” And I enjoyed sharing with them some of my memories of my grandparents, their families and their stories.
When we are young we tend to live in the moment. As we grow older we learn to appreciate our past, our family’s history and how it connects to our lives today. Sharing these stories with my children was a wonderful way to remember those I love, who are still with me today in spirit.