Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Wrestling’

End of Era Skills

My blogging all but dried up during the cold, busy season of wrestling. I mean, winter.  I forget that it isn’t spring, summer, fall, wrestling for everyone else.

Anyway, I’m back now.

Because I have this writing compulsion, my poor Facebook friends have had to take the heat. In light of my inability to find time to blog, long and regular Facebook posts have become my jam.  I’m ready to blog again; now I can put all my nonsense into regular blog updates.. My Facebook friends will be glad for it.

I have just one subject on my mind today: how badly I handle the end of an era. Not good at it at all.  Eddie is going to college. He will be moving out.

Three of the worst days of my life were the three days I dropped off our kids at Kindergarten.  Since that time,   I have developed only a few meager skills to improve my ability to cope with days like this.

I remember dropping Zeke off, and running into a friend of mine on the way out of the school..  This friend was just as nuts about her kids as I am mine.  I was blubbering and carrying on, and even though she gave me a nice pat on the back, I could read in her eyes that she’d thought better of me than this pathetic display.  No need for all the fuss, really.

In my head, I am totally aware that over the years, gazillions of moms who love their kids  have managed first day of Kindergarten, and high school graduation without theatrics.  I can too. Except, I’m not off to a very good start.

Yesterday, I was in the bathroom at a restaurant, and I heard a little boy tell his Mom, “Hey.  I’m not suppose to be in here. This bathroom is for gewls, not boys. I’m a boy.”

I remembered when Eddie was offended by the same thing when he was little, and then I got choked up.

Later, I was watching a show with a dad playing football with is two little sons, and there the tears were again. Scott always played football with our kids.  Boo hoo!!!

Then, I watched a rerun of “The Middle”. Sue Heck was going to college. You’ll never guess what I was doing.  Okay, so you did guess.  Crying.

Little kids and TV aren’t the only things making me cry.  I was putting gas in my car, and heard a sad song playing over the P.A..  That’s all it took.  Tears in my eyes again.

All three of our kids remember how I handled the whole Kindergarten debacle.  I’d like to think they remember it, because it really isn’t like me to cry and carry on.   They haven’t seen it much in their lifetimes.  I generally save the all out crying for deaths of loved ones…and Kindergarten.

I remember 5-year-old Eddie trying to make me feel better about his Kindergarten debut.  That kid was so happy to be growing up, and a part of his own society.  He couldn’t figure out why his Mom wasn’t on board.  I wrote in his baby book that one day after school he was trying to make me feel better.  He said, “Mom, when I’m at Kindergarten, just go to the zoo!”

See,he said that, because we took the kids to the zoo a lot, and he knew I liked it there. Now can you see why I’m CRYINGGGG????  Isn’t that SOOOOO sweet????!!

I know. Pull yourself together, lady.

I’m going to try.  I really am.  Because kids moving on is good. That’s what you want them to do.  It means they’re healthy, and it means you haven’t done the worst job as a parent, right? Plus,  Moms say goodbye to their 18-year-olds every year, and you don’t hear them whining about it.  I mean, if my 18-year-old was clinging to my leg, begging to stay, THAT would be something to cry about.

I’ll pull it together.  I promise. I will.  I’ll go to the Zoo.

 

ed and zeke wrestling

First they’re little.

 

 

Ed State 1

Then…POOF!  They’re big.  It’s a trap.

Mom Lessons and Taming the Beast

There are two kinds of people in this world.  The first kind of people are the ones who don’t notice they lost.  The second kind of people are the ones who are normal.

Scott likes to say that I am a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to my competitive nature. It’s a well known fact that there is no such thing as a minor competition for Scott.  If it’s a contest, he means to win. I’ve been very outspoken over the years about Scott’s overzealous competitive streak.  I’ve even given him a few lively and convincing lectures on the subject.

It took Scott a while to figure out that I had a competitive streak of my own.  He’s figured it out now.  He’s really figured it out.  He figured out that all my lively lectures were always given after he just beat me at ping pong, or tennis.  I really HATE being beat. Especially by Scott.

Losing burns.

Scott and I have raised competitive children.  I’m not sure there was another possible outcome.

This weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about our family’s competitive nature.  Our boys and some of their teammates competed in a national wrestling tournament against top wrestlers from states all over the country this past Saturday.  There was some winning.  There was some losing.

The boys have spent a lot of time  improving their wrestling skills over the years.  I’ve improved my skills too.  I’ve improved my fan skills.  Good fan skills take practice.  Good fan skills require denying your primal instincts.  When my boys wrestle, I have learned to resist the urge to draw attention to myself with high pitch screams (mostly).  I don’t offer my boys nonsensical pointers like, “Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle”, “Squeeze!”, or (my personal favorite I heard from a mom sitting in her heavyweight high school son’s corner, while watching her son attempt to pin his opponent), “Come to Mamma!!!”  That one should get you kicked out of the gym.

I’ve learned to avoid these missteps. These missteps are  not easy to avoid when adrenaline is causing your blood to crash through your veins, into your limbs, tricking your primal brain into believing you need to help your baby cub in a fight for his life.

Wrestling has taught me  to master my frantic impulses; I’m becoming quite an impressive fake.

When my boys lost this weekend, I smiled.  I said nice things.  I talked about what we could learn, and how we can’t win them all. Then, I sat quietly,  listening to my pulse beat furiously in my ears, and running through a string of cuss words in my head, while telling myself I couldn’t possibly HATE anything as much as I hated wrestling.

THAT is the beast you don’t let out.

I think the reason I thought I wasn’t competitive all those years, is because even though my brain gets hijacked by the beast, I recover quickly.  I experience mental anguish after a loss, but the anguish is temporary.

At this weekend’s tournament, I was talking to another wrestler’s mom.  This was her son’s first big tournament.  He was excited to be a part of something so large.  He wanted to do his best.  He wasn’t expecting to win the tournament.  This boy’s mom was telling me what she and her husband were observing about her son’s experience with this tournament.

This boy’s mom said she loved watching her son decide on his own to compete at this tournament.  This tournament was not on any school calendar, and participation was voluntary.  She told me that she and her husband took delight in hearing their son pull out of the driveway in the morning while it was still dark. He wanted to get some training in, and meet with more experienced wrestlers in the wrestling room, so those wrestlers could teach him things he didn’t know.

This mom said she felt so grateful that her son was choosing goals for himself, developing a plan for how to reach his goals, and following through with his plan to get there.  This mom also told me she would never get tired of watching her son sit in his teammates’ corners, offering his help, and cheering for them.  This mom’s son went 0 – 2 at the tournament, and then he was done.  But, this mom asked me what more could she want for her son than all the maturity and personal development he was gaining through this experience.

I agreed.

As this mom was talking about her son’s experiences, she was starting to tear up; she was so moved.  I got choked up just listening to her.

After the fiery burn of our  sons’ losses died to a small flame, and then was extinguished completely, I started to think about our own lessons.

Like a lot of other young athletes, our boys have spent hours, days, weeks and years of their lives working towards their goals.  A part of almost every day of their lives is devoted to making them better wrestlers.  Their imaginations and private thoughts are consumed by dreams of what they plan to achieve.  They don’t have what they want yet, but trying to get there fills their lives with meaning.

Losing is part of getting there.

Our boys were disappointed after their losses.  By the following morning, the boys had more plans. They had fresh insight into what adjustments they could make, and an idea about how to make those adjustments.  They have places they want to go.

I’m so grateful that the boys have places they want to go.  I hope when they get there, they’ll think of NEW places they want to go.  Because, I think trying to figure out how to get where you want to go is providing my family with more engagement with a meaningful life than they realize.

But they’re not entirely satisfied. And, I think a little dissatisfaction is good.  I mean,  not the kind of dissatisfaction that deflates our spirit.  The kind of dissatisfaction that gets you up in the morning, making plans for how to be better than you were when you went to bed.

I can’t flip the off switch on our family’s competitive nature, any more than I can change the color of our eyes.  We have to identify our competitiveness, embrace it, tame it, and use it to become our best selves.  And, really, it’s so much fun.  Like my wrestling mom friend,  I don’t know what else I could ask for.

Zeke with dad

He’s 9 feet tall, Dad. Any ideas?

ed's wrestling stance

Wrestling stance.

team at pre season

TEAM!

Making Brave Decisions and What’s Wrong with Reggie?

Do you have a hard time accepting things at face value?  I do.

Lately, when the family is hanging out in the living room, Reggie has been slipping away to Scott’s and my bedroom.  We suddenly realize he’s gone. We get up and look around.  We keep finding him lying on our bed (or under) in the dark.

Why does he do that?  Do you think he’s sick?  Or worse, do you think we hurt his feelings?

You’d be pretty surprised to know much space a problem like my dog’s hurt feelings occupies in my brain. I’m glad you don’t know.

Our family is experiencing something new.  College recruitment.

Parents should get manuals for this stuff.  Wait. There probably are manuals somewhere.  Forget I said that.  I don’t want to read a manual.

But, poor Eddie. It’s just like when those dumb suckers let us take him home from the hospital for the first time.  We didn’t have one single idea what we were walking into.  We had no real experience to make us confident we’d succeed as parents.  We looked like adults, but we knew the truth. We were just two kids.  Kids can’t raise babies.

Well, maybe kids can raise babies. Eddie is still alive. Yay!

This little baby is now walking around like an almost big man.  I think this almost big man is probably assuming his parents are mature and adult enough to help him make his first gigantic life decision.

Sorry, Eddie. We’re STILL just kids.

College sports.  There’s a lot going on there.  I know very little about this subject.

We received a postcard in the mail last week.  The card said that if our child athlete doesn’t have at least 25 colleges/universities pursuing him/her, then we’re not doing an adequate job of promoting him as parents.  Which, of course, means we should hire professionals.

Don’t you think that was a stupid advertisement?  My sister-in-law is a college coach.  She says that outfits like that are trying to play on parents’ egos.  Weird. Because, it sounds to me like they just sent me an invitation to chaos.  Because we all need more of that, right?

Eddie is talking to a small handful of schools.  He’s  trying to figure out which wrestling team and college/university to choose.  He’s trying to figure out where he belongs next. Even on a small scale, it can feel overwhelming

Scott and Eddie just did Eddie’s first official school visit.  I sent Scott and Eddie no less than four texts reminding them to take pictures for me.  They said they forgot.  I wish they wouldn’t lie.  Did I really think they were going to stop and ask the coaches and wrestlers to take selfies with them?  A girl can hope.

I had to settle for a pictureless summary of their visit.

Scott and I have not had to make THAT many big, life decisions.  When we do, it’s rough.  I think there are two separate things making the decision making process especially difficult for us.  Scott is EXTREMELY slow to commit to anything;he wants to make the exact right choice.  For him, no decision is better than the wrong decision.  His perfectionism slows him down.

I have the opposite problem. I almost always  really, really, really don’t have an opinion.  This isn’t the oh-I-am-saying-I-don’t-have-an-opinion-so-you-are-forced-to-make-the-decision-and-I-can-criticize-you-later type of no opinion.  I suffer from REAL opinionless issues. .  Everything sounds good to me; I want everyone to make everyone happy.  I’m your basic, every day coward.

I’ve been praying a lot about Eddie’s big decision lately.  Then, I read this the other morning in the Gospel of James:

But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind.If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.

Hmm.  Never saw that verse before.  Will you check your Bible to make sure that verse is really in there? I think some jackhole might have written that in my Bible to play a joke on me.

Here’s the part where I’m supposed to tie all this up for you.  I tell you that this verse reversed my indecisive nature; learn from me.  Except, I don’t know.  Should I tell the truth?  Or, should I lie?  I feel like I want to lie, except the truth feels better:  That verse didn’t change anything.  Yet.

Just give me some time with that verse.  Okay?  I’ll read it and reread that verse.  I need to ask God what He means to say to me with that verse.   I might be learning a new way to do things here. Too soon to tell.  When things change, you’ll be the first to know.

Here’s something I do know. Yes. We were like little kids raising a baby, but Eddie is still alive, remember. So far, so good.  And, I think I actually kind of like how he’s shaping up.  I mean, if you had to live with him, you’d see he’s got some rough spots.  He’s kind of a hot mess in the pays attention to detail department.  But, right in the center of all his crusty old man clothes, long hair, inappropriate jokes,  and forgetfulness is a kid who knows himself.  It’s remarkable, really. Considering the confused kids who raised him.

eddie in tree

Secretly (not anymore) I really love that thing inside Eddie.  Knowing his own mind has served him well to this point.  No.  I’m not ready to turn all my parental duties over to that thing inside him, but I think we can at least trust it to guide us in the right direction with this big life decision Eddie’s making. I think. I don’t know. I’m not sure.

eddie eagle senior pic

Cheers to a Future…

Hey y’all, give me a little hug around the neck. Ya hear?

Sorry.  “Friday Night Lights.”

I’m heavily influenced by whatever story I am currently following.  Remember when I was Scottish?  I’m a Texan now

I told you, I’m not that good at pacing myself; a pretty standard trait for those of us suffering with some bits and pieces of attention deficit issues. That’s a paradox, right?  People who struggle to apply their attention, actually OVER apply their attention when they’re engaged with something that is of interest to them.  Like “Friday Night Lights”.

Scott said he feels like I’m cheating on him with this show.  I’m always sneaking away to catch a few more minutes with my Friday Night Lights friends.   I half listen to Scott’s stories, because in my head I’m busy trying to solve all my friends’ problems from Dillon, Texas.

Not to worry.  I’m almost done with all these people.  I haven’t been eating and sleeping as much lately; I’ve watched almost 5 seasons in one month.  It’s called commitment.  You might want to try it.  Maybe you could finally make something of yourself.

Other things that have been happening while I’ve been living in Texas are college visits.  Here we are.  It’s time.  Eddie has always seen himself as someone who’s going to college.  When Eddie was in Kindergarten, he would come home from school and immediately put Scott’s videos of the Iowa Hawkeye wrestling tournaments in to the VCR.  I remember thinking that was a little unique for a 5-year-old.  Shouldn’t he be watching “Caillou”?  Eddie couldn’t abide that little Caillou.  Not even for a second.

Poor Eddie. He’s so much like me, I hate to tell him how much. He loves what he likes. Eddie had an insatiable appetite for college wrestling.  He still does.

So, college is certainly on the horizon for Eddie.  Good for him.  Can I be serious for a few lines?  I want to say out loud how much I  appreciate the opportunity to consider possibilities.  I didn’t always believe we’d be here.  Eddie has a future. Eddie has a future.  Eddie has a future.  I’m just going to keep saying it until I believe it.

When Eddie was in grade school, we knew this wonderful family.  This family had a couple of boys who wrestled for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  One of these boys put together a care package for sick little Eddie from the Hawkeye wrestling team.  The package included Hawkeye t-shirts worn by some of the wrestlers, including one t-shirt signed by everyone on the team.  There were also some nice notes in the package, including a short note from  Coach Dan Gable.  If you say you’re a wrestling fan, and you don’t know Dan Gable, you’re busted.  Gable is a wrestling legend;  besides those Olympic gold medals he owns,  he was also the coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes for many years.

This note from Dan Gable gave Eddie a few words of encouragement.  Gable told Eddie that it was good Eddie was getting all this sickness out of the way when he was young, so when Eddie was older he could do all the wrestling he wanted.

This. For sure. This was the best gift Eddie has ever received. Hands down.  No contest.  We framed all of it, and it might be the only Earthly possession Eddie cares about.

I remember reading Gable’s words, and feeling kind of hopeful.  I mean, Gable didn’t know Eddie, or even what was wrong with Eddie.  But, he was Dan Gable. Maybe he knew stuff about the future.  I loved him for pretending he did.

So, the future is now.  Eddie’s looking forward to a college, and, hopefully, more wrestling.  Gable called it.

The first college Eddie wanted to visit was my Alma Mater. I wish this visit had something to do with me; it’s purely coincidence.  Or, I should say, it’s purely about wrestling.

When we were on vacation with Scott’s family last week, we took the opportunity to visit campus.  I have not been to my Alma Mater since I graduated.  It’s funny how quickly you remember things.  I gave my family a tour; I wasn’t half bad.

The kids wanted to know where I stayed on campus.  I told them that their Dad and I were married then.  I lived off campus with their dad while I finished college.  The kids responded to this information with instantaneous disgust.  Especially Olivia.

Olivia is appalled that I did not have the independence nor the dignity to earn a college degree before I chained myself down to a man for the rest of my life.  I told Olivia that while I respect her point of view, I do admit I really liked her Dad a great deal; I think there’s a decent chance things are gonna work out, despite our foolishness.

UNI

Just hangin’ around campus in our Crocs.

zeke uni

Zeke wishes he was as cool as that guy.

la la uni

Her wrestling stance needs some work.

Black Hills, Bad Pictures and Self Denial

We had a good idea for a vacation this summer.  We thought that after the boys wrestled at Nationals in Fargo, ND, we could finally see Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills.  We’ve talked about taking that trip for years.  Maybe I’ve wanted to see the Black Hills a little too badly.  One time we had to take a detour through a corner of South Dakota, on our way back from Colorado.  On this detour, we passed by a blackish looking hill. I pronounced, “Hey kids.  Those are the Black Hills.”

Usually my family trusts my pronouncements.  My family seemed a little iffy on this one. Eddie asked, “Really?  That’s it?”

I’m like, “We’re in South Dakota. It’s a hill. It’s black.  Those are the Black Hills.  I don’t know what else you want from me, kid.  Now, tell your teachers and your friends that your parents took you to the Black Hills this summer.”

I don’t know why some people have to knit pick the heck out of everything you say.  Can’t they just trust me?

I didn’t realize when we were making all those Black Hills plans this year that Olivia’s missions trip was at the same time as the wrestling tournament. DANG!!!  We just couldn’t see enjoying major sight seeing short a family member.

I hate calendars.  Calendar makers are pessimists.  They like ruining all our fun.The actual plan ended up being Scott and I going to Fargo on our own.  The boys traveled with the team.

Scott and I spent four nights at a hotel, going back and forth to the Fargodome to watch the boys and their Wisconsin teammates.  I really was sad about the family  vacation being messed up, but I’m not gonna lie. Scott and I had some laughs.

I think I told you a while back that Scott and I were a little nervous about how we will survive when our kids don’t need us like they do now.  It’s scary to not be needed.  After our Fargo trip, we feel a little more confident we’ll survive.  We forgot our kids happened because Scott and I like each other.

I think Scott and I had only one difference of opinion on our little vacation.  That problem happened when we were deciding where to eat.  Decision making can cause people like us some problems.   Sometimes you just really need one person in a relationship who can handle the pressure of making a wrong choice…about tacos vs. hamburgers.  Personally, I don’t need the stress.

I wish I would have written down all the times and reasons I was laughing my head off in Fargo.  I can’t remember why now. Just so many, unimportant funny things can happen on any given day.

I do remember one thing that made me laugh until I felt like I had used up all my laughing for life.  Scott has always said he has camera anxiety. I didn’t know that was real.

Personally, I think Scott is a cute guy.  But, I have to agree with him.  I haven’t seen many pictures that accurately represent the way I think he looks in real life.  Scott says it’s because he gets nervous.  As soon as someone brings out a camera, he starts debating in his head what he should do with his smile, posture, eyes.  It’s a lot like deciding about tacos vs. hamburgers.  There’s so much at stake.

Scott and I had some time to kill between the boys’ matches in the Fargodome.  I felt like I could really help Scott figure out how to take carefree, happy pictures.  We did some selfies.  And, I don’t know.  I just don’t know.  It’s not that Scott looks so bad.  It’s just that he looks unrecognizable as a human.  I’m not actually sure how Scott could really look worse, unless he wore a hideous mask. Wait. Nope.  Still not worse.

The harder he tries, the worse it gets.

1,2,3, cheese…

bad pic 1

Oops. Your eyes were closed.

bad pic 2

Dang it.  You closed them again.

bad pic 3

Wait.  Are you trying to do that?  You have to keep your eyes open.

bad pic 4

Wow!  I can see you went to a lot of effort. Don’t do it again.

bad pic 5

Okay, maybe one of your eyes looks okay in this?

bad pic 6

We should stop.  I’m starting to doubt our relationship.

I thought all it took was persistence. Sometimes I’m wrong.

Another thing we enjoyed doing in Fargo was watching freak athletes from 46 different states wrestle their hearts out.  The wrestlers attend a camp a week prior to this week long tournament to train with their teammates from around their state.  Every day, the kids work out at an intense pace for the better part of their waking hours.  The wrestlers are generally trying to get down to their peak fighting weight too.  There is a lot of expenditure; very few deposits.

On top of the body fuel issues, you’ve got kids away from home, sleeping in hotels and hanging out with their buddies.   It’s easy not to sleep well. We decided that just learning to manage your energy for this thing could be a guy’s secret weapon.

At the end of the week Zeke’s eye was swollen shut, and Eddie was on crutches. He injured his hip.  I might be tempted to doubt whether all the boys’ effort is worth the price.  That would be a selfish thought.

I was trying to give Zeke some sympathy about how little he was eating.  He reminded me that most of us eat WAY more than we really need to on any give day.  It’s quite possible to survive on less, he told me.  Then, I told him he must not understand that I have very little tolerance for hunger.  I bet he never thought of that.  Mr. Sillypants.

I haven’t always been the best at embracing difficulties: physical (especially physical), mental, emotional.  I’m more in favor of things that happen without effort, and require little sacrifice.   I can see what is happening with all these wrestlers though.    I can see these kids are learning how to endure temporary discomfort to achieve long term goals.

Immediate gratification is a part of our wonderful, modern and convenient culture.  It isn’t wrong.  I love the drive up window.   It’s just that I have this suspicion that having what we want, whenever we want it, gets us a little out of practice with self denial.  Sometimes self denial is necessary, often helpful when building something meaningful.

I was also thinking that if a kid learns young that hard work, a bit of self denial and a dash of temporary discomfort can help them achieve something quite worthwhile over time, that kid might be well prepared for handling life.  Life isn’t always like the drive up window.

Anyway, it’s too soon to say for sure if I’m right about all this.  But, it helps a mom to believe.

fargodome 1

Family Pictures and Long Skirts

I’ve always thought that the 4th of July marked the half-way point for summer.  I guess I was wrong, because the 4th is next week, and there’s no way summer is half way gone. I’ll not be having it, laddy boy.

I’ve been reading historical fiction this summer.  I’ve been hanging out in Scotland.  Do ye know of the book “The Outlanders”?   Dinna mind me new Scottish accent, lasses.  Canna be helped.  Tis a very good book indeed.

Wow.  I’m like a sponge.  I just read books like this and then I know a whole new language.  Crazy how my mind works. It isn’t average.

I feel so freakin’ sentimental lately.  Blahh!  I hate it.  My eyes well up over nothing.  It’s all this time racing past me.  I try to grab hold of some of it, and make it stay in place; I can’t manage it.

Writing helps.  Writing is a way to memorialize simple moments in my life that would otherwise be lived and quickly forgotten.  I like to remember ordinary things.  Ordinary things are my favorite.

Pictures help too.  I recently read an article about all the things you should do with your family when your child is a senior.  One of the suggestions was taking a family portrait.  I haven’t been good about formal pictures with our family.  We’ve only taken a couple.

Here’s one of our first family pictures.  Scott always teases me about this picture.  We were in my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding. Things sort of came together for me that day; I looked pretty fancy.  It bugs Scott that I don’t have one of the kids on my lap in this picture.  He says he thinks I grabbed Zeke by the ear and pulled him out of the way so the kid wouldn’t block the camera’s view of me.

family pic

Beat it, Zeke!

C’mon, Scott.  You know I’m not like that.  But, let’s be honest.  You think one little kid is gonna stop the camera from capturing all that beauty?

I don’t know where Scott comes up these crazy ideas.

Just to keep me humble, our next family picture captured my real essence.  In that photo, I looked like wet dog with a side of hairball.  That whole picture taking experience was a fiasco.  I won’t bore you with the story now.  But, just in case you think I’m exaggerating, I’ve got proof.  It was misting/raining that day.  My hair was down, all nice and pretty.  By the time we took our picture, the only thing I could do was put all those wet strings plastered to my head into a pony tail.  What I know now is that it really doesn’t matter what I looked like.  I just want to remember what all the other nice people in this photo looked like then:

family pic

5 Years ago. Eddie has his head on my shoulder, AWWW!!!!

This article I read said that now is the time for the family portrait.  Once your senior graduates, the family dynamic will never be the same.  Capture the moment while you can. So, we did.

I called a professional photographer.  I had this discussion with her about scheduling an appointment around wrestling tournaments.  I explained to the photographer that it was likely my boys would have a black eye, or some other facial trauma, if we didn’t pick the right day. She pretended like we were having a normal conversation.

I had to call the photographer the day before our pictures.  I told her the boys did  not have any facial bruising.  Eddie just had a smallish scab on his nose.  Oh, and Eddie was on crutches.  Eddie tore a hip muscle in wrestling practice.  The photographer thought photshopping crutches out of the picture might be a challenge.

We had the pictures taken anyway.  We worked around the crutches. Picture taking can be fun.  I was really well behaved.  I didn’t shove any children out of my spotlight.

Right now, the five people in my family have fewer opportunities than ever to be all in the same place at the same time.  When we are together, I sure enjoy it.  We talk and laugh a wee bit more than y’ may believe.  Oops. There I go again.  Being bilingual is a harder than you think.  I keep having to remind myself to use English.

Eddie hurt his hip three days before our pictures.  We hadn’t talked about his injury much.   Eddie gets a bad wrap sometimes from all the members in our family.  I mean, most of the time he deserves it.  The kid can eat a new bag of chocolate chips in an hour.  But, Eddies’s got some things going for him too.  One thing we all know about Eddie is that he can take a hit.  Eddie does not complain. He doesn’t ask for help.   He doesn’t bring up his troubles in conversation.  He doesn’t do anything other than lay low, and wait for things to get better.  I guess Eddie has had a lot of practice at that.

On the way home from picture taking we were finally finding the time to ask Eddie about his injury.  It happened during wrestling practice.  Eddie felt a pop in his hip.  The guy he was wrestling put Eddie on his back and said, “Fight back, Eddie!”

Eddie said, “I can’t.”  Then, Eddie army crawled over to the wall and waited for practice to end.

Eddie’s wrestling practice is a 45 minute drive from our house.  Eddie said he left practice without being able to put any weight on his leg.  It was night time, and raining pretty hard.  He hopped on one leg out to the van.   He lost balance in the parking lot, and tried putting weight on his injured leg.  He dropped to the ground with the effort, and found himself laying in a large puddle. Eddie was close enough to the van to crawl the rest of the way.  He got to the passenger side door, opened it, and crawled over the passenger seat to the driver’s side.  He drove home using his left foot.

Eddie casually shared this story on our way home from picture taking.  I thought this was a crappy story.  Why didn’t he call us from practice so we could come and get him?  Why didn’t he tell us this story sooner?

We were real sorry to hear about what happened to Eddie, but we were enjoying being together while we heard it.  There’s something good about having teenagers.  With teenagers, there are moments when they are at their best, and you are at your best, and your realize you might have actually created your very best friends for life.  Great idea, God. Thank you!  We had several moments during the evening where we could not stop laughing.

Later in the night, Scott was trying to text a fellow coach using the voice command option on his phone. Scott was just rambling into the phone to test the technology.  He wanted to see how it worked.   At the same time he was doing that, we were laying around asking ourselves if Reggie farted.  I asked Scott if he farted, and so he spoke into his phone and said something like, “They think I farted.  I didn’t.”

I yelled into the phone, “You farted.  You stink.”

Then, Zeke yelled, “Send.”

Did you know that if you tell your voice command text to send, it will send?  Scott told us the message sent.  The message to his peer said, “Hey coach, do you know what time practice is and they think I farted.  I didn’t. You farted you stink.”

At first we didn’t believe him that it sent.  Then, he showed us.  Oh my Gosh.  You couldn’t stop us then.  We were gasping for air, we were laughing so hard, and so long.

Scott had the last laugh though.  He told us the message didn’t really send to the coach. Scott is smarter than that.  He was practicing voice texting by sending the message to Zeke’s phone.  We should have known better.  Scott was awfully calm for just having sent an important text to a respected peer about whether or not he farted.

I just have one more important thing to tell you.  I’m giving long skirts a try.  I know I’m a little late to the party. But, I’ve never been accused of being a trend setter.  I’m okay with this.

I just haven’t been on board with the long dress/skirt thing, because I felt like I would look less hip, and more like a member of the Duggar family.

I bought this long black skirt.  I think I like it.  I sort of vacillate between feeling like I’m fashion forward, and thinking I look like I should be offering Holy Communion. No disrespect.  Priests dress totally right for their line of work.

At any rate, I like this long skirt because I think there’s little chance all that fabric could get caught in the waist band without me noticing.  If you read my blogs, you feel me on this.  If not, I won’t be opening that wound.  I’m only just now beginning to heal.

long skirt

Looks pretty good, right?

My Montage and Onion Bag Basketball

I wish someone would make a montage of my life.  Let’s get real with each other.  Who WOULDN’T want to do that for me?  I can only think of like maybe one person. Tops.

I’d like to look at video clips of all the good parts of my life set to sentimental music. You know, like they do in movies?  I asked for a label maker for my birthday.  Maybe next year I’ll ask for a montage.

Things are happening right now that I want to stop and think about.  I want to take a moment and just say, “Wow.  I totally love this.”  But, people don’t really get to do that, do they?  People just have to keep going and keep making new things happen, making it hard to remember the old stuff that happened. I don’t want to forget the old stuff.

The wrestling season is in full swing.  I love it.  I love it so much.  In previous years, the wrestling season has been bittersweet. Super fun to watch my sons do what they like doing, but super hard to watch Eddie struggle through at half-strength.  We aren’t doing that this year.  I know I told you this before, but Eddie is doing great.

Scott told me this week that he forgot what it’s like to be in the middle of the wrestling season without that clenching grip around his heart.  I told Scott that was a pretty good way to describe how sadness feels.

I know just what Scott means.  I hope I’m clear when I say I know there is no end to trouble in this life. Troubles are unavoidable, and, really, troubles should be embraced.  Blah, blah, blah.  I know it. Whoever said that can just beat it.

I also know my family is not done with trouble.  I guess that might be why I want to just slow things down and make sure I’m acknowledging and appreciating every single moment of this reprieve.

I had a great talk with Eddie recently about how it feels to be hopeless.  He said he really understands how a guy could feel hopeless.  And then he said he thinks giving up hope is one of the WORST things we can do.  You know what people without hope do?  Nothing.  They don’t do anything to help themselves, because they just don’t see the point.  People who don’t do anything to help themselves, won’t improve their situation.  People who’s situation never improves, feel hopeless.  It’s easy to see what a vicious and useless cycle trouble can become.

If you are experiencing trouble, I want you to know there is ALWAYS hope!!!  Please do NOT stop hoping!

eddie with hope

One fantastic part of this wrestling season is getting to hang out with our wrestling friends.  Those are some ridiculously cool people. We also get to see family members who come to watch our boys.  I was so happy Scott parents came to the meet the other night.  I’ve said this before, but those two in-laws of mine…I don’t know.  You just have to meet them to know what I mean.  They’re just lovable.

inlaws

Scott and his siblings are all funny and humble.   Really.  Four out of four.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence.  Scott’s Mom, Gail, tells the BEST stories.  I’ve heard many of these stories over and over, I know many of these stories by heart.  For some reason, I never get sick of hearing Gail tell a story.

Wait a minute.  Did I just have a moment of self revelation via my blog?  I’m a story teller too.  I also tell the same stories over and over.  Did Scott marry his Mother?  I’m sorry.  I’m going to have to digest that privately.

When Gail and Marc were raising their offspring, money was tight.  Marc and Gail were honest, blue collar, hard-working, no-nonsense parents.  Thanks to them, I’m skeptical that it’s possible to raise hard-nosed, unspoiled, athletic kids without their magic formula.  I wonder if my own kids have a slight disadvantage in life, just because Scott and I live a bit more comfortably than both our parents did.  That might sound a little crazy, but still, sometimes I wonder.

One of my favorite stories from Scott’s childhood is about Scott’s gym bag.  When he was younger, Scott remembers standing in line for gym class.  He went to a private Catholic school.  Most of his classmates could afford private school, so they were not without means.  Scott can recall that all the other kids in line had their gym clothes inside their sporty duffel bags.  Scott had his gym clothes in a bag too.  A bread bag. His Mom told him that the bread bag would work perfectly to carry his gym clothes.  It’s not like the bread bag was from some cheap, generic bread.  It was a “Wonder” bread bag, which is basically like designer bread. I don’t know what Scott was complaining about.

Scott has lots of stories like that, and they’re all my favorite.

Last week Marc and Gail (Scott’s parents) came for a short visit after the boys’ meet.  We’ve made some nice upgrades to our house since the Smith’s last visit. The thing that impressed Gail the most was the basketball hoop in our kitchen.  She couldn’t get over how nice it looked, and wanted to know where it came from.  I told her we bought it in the toy aisle, and that the kids fixed it up with duct tape. That hoop is always hanging in the kitchen.  I don’t even see it any more.

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Then, Gail told me that when her kids were young they had a hoop up all the time too.  She said her kids’ hoop was an old onion bag.  She told us that she would get sick of the onion bag always hanging there, and take it down.  But, before she knew it, the kids would replace it with a new onion bag.  Seems like a waste of some perfectly good onion bags to me.

See what I mean?  How could Scott and his siblings possibly be so awesome, if they would have owned fancy duffel bags and real basketball hoops when they were little?  What would there be to laugh about now, if they had?

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