Saturday, May 10, 2014

Security!



Until this morning, no one had ever threatened to call security on me before.  But this mama bear was not one to mess with today.  I had been waiting by my phone for Samantha to send me the signal that she was warming up for her final race of her high school career.  Seven years she had invested in this sport and we were on our way to see her run one last time.  I will not miss going to track meets, but I will miss watching my baby girl lap that track and fight to achieve her goals.  She sent our signal and we headed out.

This year has been hard.  Cross country season was a phenomenal letdown as she had high hopes and painful injuries that kept her from doing what she worked three long years to accomplish.  It tested her commitment, her drive, and her faith but in impressive fashion she looked past, forward, and more importantly, she looked up.  Her body has been holding up during track season despite coming home on multiple occasions with bags of ice wrapped around her calves, but she had yet to push through that final wall.

The 800 meter run is her main event and all year she's had a goal for a specific time.  She had come within 3 seconds of it before, and within 5 or 6 seconds of it on multiple occasions.  It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but when you’re only running two laps you would be surprised how hard it is to close that gap.  Today was her last chance.  The League Championships are a 2-day event and they hadn’t charged for day 1, but as we approached the entrance on day 2 we discovered that they were charging to get in.  “That will be $13,” she said.  We were unprepared – neither Cory nor I had any money.  “Well,” the cashier said, “there’s a 7-11 across the street where you can find an ATM.”

The race started in 10 minutes.  My head got hot and I replied, “Sorry, but I’m going in to watch my daughter race right now.  I’ll have to figure this out later.”  “Alright then, I’ll just have to call security,” she spit back.  “That’s fine, you do that,” I managed as I made my way past her with Cory and Drew in tow.  I had butterflies in my stomach the whole ride over and the threat of security only heightened my anxiety over this last and final event.

Last.

Final.

These words have become all too common lately.

I knew how important it was to her to do well, and I didn’t want to see her walk away disappointed again.  As I watched her line up I said what I always say under my breath, “Come on baby girl, this is your time.”  The gun shot off into the air and they were off.  Seconds and hundredths of seconds began ticking away on the scoreboard as they rounded off 200 meters, then 400 meters, and she looked strong.  Fierce, upright, determined; her first 400 meters had her leading the pack.  With my palms face together and poised at my lips, I watched intently as she headed into her second lap.  “Come on baby girl, this is your time.  Your last chance.”  When she passed in front of me I screamed my normal, “Go baby! Go!  You can do it!” but unabashedly added, “I LOVE YOU SAMANTHA!”  The seconds were ticking by but I knew she was having a good run and I prayed for her to have this moment.  I knew she deserved it - payment for a grueling year, reward for never giving up, and joy for finally achieving one more personal record.  As she crossed the finish line I shot my eyes up to the scoreboard before flashing them over to the coach on the field, gripping his timer with force; my answer was confirmed by his reaction – with a fist pump in the air and a sprint to meet her at the finish line I knew she had done it.  She did it!  I couldn’t believe it.  She was finally having her moment – she bent over in exhaustion before running over to the coach and giving him a hug.  A moment later I saw her look up into the stands where I met her distant stare – she found me, raised both arms in triumph and I raised mine in the air to match it.  

I was crying by now, and it took a few more minutes before I got to hug her myself and tell her how proud I was of her.  She cried into my shoulder as we held each other and managed through her tears, “Thanks Mom.”  When she pulled back I spotted the huddle of team members rushing over to congratulate her as I stepped aside and paused to take it all in.  Lots of smiling, hugging, and celebrating ensued. 

Her moment. 

My girl.

Samantha stayed behind to cheer on her other teammates for the remainder of the meet while Cory, Drew and I headed for the exit.  We hit yelp for the nearest bank, grabbed some cash and I went back to pay the cashier.  “Hi,” I said as I approached the kiosk.  “I believe I owe you $13.”  

And security never came.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Phone Call

These days when the phone rings it’s usually one of two possibilities.  It is either a telemarketer or it’s my friend Jill calling to tell me she almost hit a goat/clown/wild turkey.  Jill’s not a good driver and she used to live in Montana so those references are not fabricated.  That’s not the point of today’s story, although sometime I would be happy to share how she got lost going from Provo to Orem (helpful hint: when you pass Thanksgiving Point you’ve gone too far) or how it used to take her 20 minutes to get to my house which was only a mile away.  But.  Today’s story is about a telemarketer.

The phone rang last night and my 13-year-old son, Drew was closest to the one downstairs so he picked it up.  “Hello?” I heard him answer as I simultaneously grabbed the upstairs phone and hit “Talk”.  That’s when I heard the woman on the other end begin her pitch.  “…and with your generous donation today of $75 you can really help us make a difference….”  Drew listened politely as he made his way upstairs to hand the phone over to me.  When he got to me, however, I turned him away and mouthed silently that I didn’t want to talk and told him to handle it.

Game on.

After said telemarketer made her pitch Drew grew emotional with her and responded while Sam and I listened on the other end on speaker.  “Well, I’m so sorry but I have 5 kids and I just lost my house and…” *sniff *sniff “…I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!”  He was not too emotional to invite suspicion so the telemarketer showed mild concern.  “Oh, wow.  I’m so sorry.  I definitely understand.  (Um, really?)  But, you know, you don’t have to do $75.  You could just do $50 and pay it off over time.”  How thoughtful and generous of the telemarketer lady!  Realizing he needed a little more grease on his wheels, Drew upped the ante.  “And my MOM JUST DIED!”  I wondered if the woman would know she was being played at this point but it seemed as if this new revelation made her genuinely concerned.  
“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.  That’s terrible,” she said.  And then, “How old are you?”  
Abort!  Abort!  We’ve been found out!
But Drew didn’t back down.  “About…32.  Almost 33.”
“Oh,” she continued.  “You sound more like you’re in your early 20’s.”  Seriously lady?  Are you actually falling for this?
“Wow, THANKS!” Drew responded, as if he felt complimented on appearing younger than his age rather than the other way around.
“Well, I’m so sorry for your loss.  I don’t want to bother you, maybe we’ll call you again some other time when it’s more convenient.”
“Ok, thanks.” Drew said, and hung up.

The three of us then dissolved into laughter on the floor of Samantha’s bedroom and the poor telemarketer lady ran off to her next victim.  Preferably they are nicer, more attentive, and are willing to part with seventy-five bucks.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Everything

As I shut the back sliding glass door behind my 13-year-old boy this morning, there was a fresh two inches of powder on the ground.  He quietly made his way to the bus as I headed toward the front to shovel our driveway.  When I came back I glanced out the rear window and saw the trail he left behind.  It felt rather symbolic of the last few months and elicited the following thoughts:



Everything

The babes I once held close
To whisper away the cries
To rock to sleep
To hold
Just because I wanted to.
I was their everything.

They learned to walk.
My hands outstretched
To catch (just in case)
To steady
To encourage
To engulf in a hug when they made it.
Aside from fruit snacks
I was their everything.

Their feet grew.
Their world got bigger.
Their strides grew longer.
Now they walk
They run
They jump
They do everything.

But the trail has shifted.
The footprints face away
Instead of toward me.
Positive they know what to do
Positive they know the way
But I wonder.
Are they ready?
Have I taught them everything?

It is what I want for them.
It is how it is supposed to be.
This hollow breath in my throat
It has nowhere to go,
No way to feel right.
Have I done my job?
Is this all there is?
Is this everything?

Dear God,
I hope you know what you’re doing.
Lead them
Guide them
Walk beside them
Please make sure my babies make it.
They have to.

They are
After all
My Everything.

Drew's footprints left in the snow this morning