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I’m a Fan

soccer

Our son was playing in his last soccer game of the season, which meant the last sports tournament of his high school career. We have watched this kid run, catch, throw and kick from the sidelines for at least ten solid years, and this was the final time. It occurred to me that when our kids are performing in the school years, we have permission to cheer and gloat, to whistle and yell and support them in any way possible. Then, this dies down dramatically as they age.

There are those few who continue playing a sport in college and beyond, but the vast majority settle in to quieter pursuits and the onlookers stop cheering. Think about how rarely you genuinely cheer someone on from the sidelines after they leave high school. For me, this needs to change. I want to keep encouraging and clapping loudly, standing in awe when they do something crazy great and high five the others who witnessed it with me. I want to continue to be my kid’s biggest fan, even as he hangs up his cleats and turns in his gear.

Here’s to the Moms and Dads who sit on the sidelines and watch their child’s every move for a season. May that season be a lifetime.

 

Last Day

DSC_1522.jpgOne of the first things I do every morning is to open my son’s door and invite him to start his day. He’s eighteen and very capable, and certainly owns an alarm clock, but I do it anyway because he is in my home and is so easy to wake up. During football season I would simply say, ‘Hey Buddy, it’s Game Day!’ and he would smile from his bed. He’s one of those morning people who appear wide wake and together, even as he’s waking from a deep sleep. And today is his last day of high school.

Over the years I have heard horror stories from Moms about their boys, especially their senior years, being ornery and impossible to live with but this isn’t something I have seen with Coleman. Upon hearing these stories, I have waited for the change in his personality and expected a lack of respect towards his Mother but he is still our easy-going guy as long as you feed him and allow him to go to bed when he’s ready. I can honestly say I have seen him truly angry twice, and both times justifiably so.

This morning I woke up an hour and a half earlier than usual, there’s an energy in the air that I can’t ignore. We are expecting eleven people to come into town throughout the day today, and have many coming through our door for a party tomorrow and a Graduation ceremony the next day. With all the planning and excitement it is tempting to ignore the emotions just below the surface, but I want to feel every one of them as they come. Our sweet, loving little guy has become a kind, funny young man with a quick smile and a boatload of confidence. And now it’s time for me to wake him up for school for the last time.

Hey Buddy….it’s Game Day!

 

 

Learning Japanese

JapanTowards the end of his freshman year in high school, our son came home with his school schedule for the following year and proudly announced that he was taking Japanese for his foreign language. Two years of language was required and he had just locked himself in. We were not as excited as he was about the idea, we had heard that Japanese can be very challenging, so we tried to get him to reconsider. Coleman was adamant, this was what he wanted to do, so against our judgment, he enrolled in Japanese his sophomore year.

The class was tiny, about seven students in all, with one being from Japan, and the teacher speaking broken English. The curriculum moved very quickly and in just a few weeks our son was in over his head. He learned a great deal about their history and culture, but the language was very complex. The bottom line is that our son didn’t pass a class in high school. He quickly changed his mind on learning the language and had to wait until his next year to switch to Spanish, where I am happy to say he has excelled.

As the parents we had the authority to step in and refuse to allow our son to take a class that we expected to be too much for him, but we chose not to. During that semester we questioned ourselves over and over as we watched his GPA plummet. We decided that the lessons learned from the experience outweighed the grades he received that semester. It was a time for learning for us as parents, as well.

Our son is still battling back to where his GPA once was, but today he has a better idea of his abilities and his limitations. Last summer he was on a plane with a Japanese family and introduced himself in their language. They exchanged a few words until Coleman had reached his limit, and the man ended up handing his toddler daughter to him to play together while in flight. The baby actually fell asleep on our sweet son, and he held her for much of the flight. There is no way the connection could have been made if Coleman had played it safe, and I think he would say that it was worth it.

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