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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

And Then He Shuddered

Today was Zach's convocation, the presentation of the class of 2014.  I went to bed last night knowing it was going to be a hard day, especially since Zach submitted his first college application yesterday.  This day came so fast.  I went to Jan's convocation three years ago and back then it seemed like a life time away until Zach came to this day, although the practical side of me knew it would be here in the blink of an eye, and it was.  Today's event came way too fast.

This morning I raced around the house trying to get myself ready to head out the door so I could get to school in time.  The feelings in my heart and head made the morning seem a bit out of whack and more than a little fuzzy.  My focus was way off, so my racing around seemed more like a chicken with its head cut off.

Getting to school on time was a feat in and of itself, but I did it.  And I showed up unprepared.  No tissues.  I knew today was going to be a tearjerker.

Let me explain a little more about convocation.  Like I said above, convocation is the presentation of the class of 2014.  This is when the each senior class is given their responsibilities for the year and also presented with accolades for their achievements bringing them this moment.  The entire class marches in their gowns to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance."  Cue the tears....

Zach has a distinct walk.  Kind of a swagger but not really, it's just a very self confident gait.  We saw him easily as he marched in to the strains of the music that can produce tears in many a mom.  He was in his graduation gown.  It was my first glimpse of him and my heart stopped.  It was then I saw it.  The almost-grown-up Zach.  The one who is ready to take on the world and his semi-swagger showed me.

But even that didn't stem my tears.  Luckily for me, my friend, Leslie, tried to keep the tears from being embarrassing by not only supplying me with tissues, but also pinching me to stop the tears every time she saw my tears threaten to spill.

The ceremony started with the pledge of allegiance and introductions from the principal.  My tears.  They were there during the Pledge, but more on that later.

It was when "The Power of the Dream" was sung by the seniors that I began to try and see this from Zach's perspective.  This is all about him, his class and the power of their dreams.  The power of growing up.

This song was followed by the poem "The Dash."  If you haven't read it, you should.  Today, it was nearly my undoing.  The tears fell from my chin as I tried desperately to hide them from Leslie so I wouldn't get pinched again.

Next up...the guest speaker.  He is the youngest university president in the U.S.  He has a bio out the ass.  His name is Dr. Christopher Howard and he was phenomenal!  I won't go into all of the details but he had five Be's for the class of 2014.

Be Yourself.
Be Humble.
Be Accountable.
Be Courageous.
Be the Change You Want to See in the World.

It was all great advice and the entire audience, the graduating class included, stayed engaged and involved the entire time he spoke.

The event ended with a small reception afterward and then it was off to lunch with our favorite seniors.

When Zach and I were finally alone, he asked if I cried.  It was then I had to fess up.  Although I cried in many parts of the ceremony, my tears actually began at the beginning of the ceremony.  They began in earnest during the Pledge of Allegiance.  I couldn't make my voice work.  I stopped talking.  The tears flowed.  I told Zach the truth.  He high fived me, as we laughed at my extreme sentimentality.   When Claire heard that I cried during the Pledge she cracked up laughing and I had to ask...who the HELL cries at The Pledge of Allegiance?  REALLY!?!?  I understand I cry easily...but this was the FRICKING Pledge of Allegiance.  I have to believe I may be certifiably crazy to allow tears to stop me in my tracks as I tried to recite something we've all recited since we began school.

Our topic of conversation changed from my crazy, idiotic tears to graduation party plans. I told Zach we'd be having a family and friend party right after graduation.  Zach's response was, "I'm not doing that.  I'm gonna want to go out and party with my friends.  I'll be a graduate.  I'll be free and I can do whatever I want."  And then he shuddered.  "Oh, that just made me feel a little sick to my stomach.  I'm not ready to grow up."

Me either, Zach.  Me either.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I Told Lucas My Little Secret

I won "Mother of the Year" yet again yesterday, but at least I can laugh about it.

 Yesterday, Lucas' hockey team played the number one double A hockey team in the nation. Well, they were number one when Lucas' whole hockey team checked the stats on My Hockey Rankings dot com. They are a tough, formidable opponent. Ashburn Xtreme's name is enough to strike fear in most other hockey organizations. The whole organization knows what they are doing. They build on hockey plays from the moment the kids step on the ice and every team runs the same plays. They know how to build a hockey organization and it shows. Over the years, Zach's teams have played them and lost nine out of ten times (and yes, that's a direct reference to Herb Brooks' speech in the movie Miracle). Lucas' team knew they going in for an butt whooping. The only thing they didn't know was how early in the game they would get "mercied." (There's a rule that stops a game at a 10 goal differential.)  Our boys knew they didn't have a prayer against this team.

 Let me set the record straight, though, and let you know that although Lucas' team knew they didn't have a prayer, they didn't go in with a defeatist attitude. They went in with nerves jangling, but ready to play the game they all love. They knew they would be out-skated, outmaneuvered, and out-played. They didn't want to look like fools so they went in with their games faces on and played their hearts out. And they lost in a mercy. With 47 seconds left to go in the second period, Ashburn scored their tenth goal to our no goals. They out shot us 49 to two. We didn't have a prayer of scoring. But our boys held their heads high as they shook hands and said, "good game" to their opponents.

 After the game, and as Lucas and I were on our way to our hotel, I asked him what he thought of the game. His response was honest and telling. "Mom, I had no idea what I was doing out there. I knew they were going to be big and fast, but I've never seen anyone move that fast. I tried to harass them in front of the net but they just moved away. I tried to go in for a hit but they were gone before I could get to them. There was nothing I could do to combat them out there. And there were times in that game I was terrified."

It's no fun to play a game in fear. Those boys were bigger, faster, stronger. And there was no way Lucas, or most of the team, could catch them.

 And here's where I won "Mother of the Year...."

 I told Lucas my little secret. "Lucas," I said, "It's no fun to play a game scared. There have been times on the tennis courts where I got scared and so wrapped up in the next point and not wanting to lose it. There have been times I've played opponents who were so much better than I was and I got scared of losing. So I had to find a way to combat my fear and I picked songs to concentrate on rather than focusing on my fear."

In the early days of playing tennis, I chose Bryan Adams' song "We're gonna Win." Then in morphed into the Black Eyed Peas' song "I've Got a Feeling." But now I've latched onto the song I shared with Lucas. "To The Window. To the Wall. 'Til the sweat drips down your balls and all those bitches fall. All those bitches fall."

Great way to support your kid, huh? Telling him to make "those bitches fall." And yes, this is the song that goes through my head in a tennis match when I get nervous. Not because I think my opponents are bitches, but because the song makes me laugh. I see Sandra Bullock in the woods with "Gamma Annie" in the movie "The Proposal" and I just laugh.

I shared my secret with Lucas in an attempt to make him focus on laughing instead of focusing on being afraid during a game. Playing a game in fear is no way to enjoy what you love. If you're scared, you're gonna get hurt ~ especially in these contact sports my boys seem to love. Lucas needs to loosen up a bit and enjoy the game he loves. And if my little secret can help him do that, I'm happy to accept the title of "Mother of Year" for sharing my little secret with Lucas.

 After Lucas finished playing his game today and we were headed south on I-95 he said, “Mom, I think I played a much more physical game today. I’m pretty happy with how I played. Oh yeah, and did you see me ‘wreck’ that kid right in front of you?”

 “Yes, Lucas,” I said, “I saw the hit.”

 “You know what I heard in my head as the kid went down?"  I knew, but he needed to tell me.  He said, "I heard the words, ‘And all my bitches fall’ as the kid hit the ice...”

 I know I shouldn’t have said it, but the hockey mom in me comes out every so often...

 “Way to go, Lucas!” I said with a smile on my face and laughter in my voice.

 Oh, for the love of Lucas....