To us, they really will always be kids…

It’s all Olympics all the time around here. I’m exhausted. If we could get a medal for dedication to watching and cheering on, I feel I deserve at least a bronze. I went to bed at ten last night after looking up the results online because I was just too tired to spend another night watching TV so that knocks me down a bit in the medal stand.

The Olympics are emotional. No matter who wins or loses, I find myself in tears almost every single time. Every race, every match, every event is the culmination of dreams come true for some and dashed dreams for others. We are watching lives unfold before our very eyes, and it is exhausting.

P & G’s Thank you, Mom series of commercials isn’t helping. This particular commercial turns me into a blubbery mess every single time.

The other one that messes with me is this one, because it’s true. No matter how old, or how big, or how great they become, to us Mama’s they’re frozen in time, the little ones who begged for nighttime hugs and kisses, one more drink, a few more snuggles and can I please sit on your lap, Mommy?

Their giggles are frozen in time, the freckles that dot their noses imprinted in our memories until the day we close our eyes for the final time. As much as I love to watch the athletes succeed, I love to watch their parents even more. With each twist and turn, each stroke made, each stride, the mothers and fathers who walked this road alongside them move. You can see the tension in their faces, the relief in their eyes when it’s all said and done.

Most of us parents won’t be sitting in those sidelines. Most of us won’t welcome home an Olympian or a Super Bowl Champ or a World Series MVP. Most of us will allow those dreams to foster in our kids knowing that it’s probably not really in their futures and we’ll be okay with it.

But we will all watch our children grow and learn and succeed and fail in different areas – maybe on a world stage, maybe in an office cubicle, maybe in a classroom or a mission field or a boardroom or as parents raising their own children. We will watch them grow and develop and become who they were meant to be.

And we will love them fiercely and deeply and proudly.

Some of us will be disappointed by the decisions our children make. We will sit back and watch them struggle and we will ache and cry and pray and long to see them crawl out of the pit that they have dug for themselves.

And we will love them fiercely and deeply and proudly.

As we drove home from Sloan’s football practice the other night, he shared with us some of his fears. He is not an aggressive child making football an odd choice for him. He’s built for the game and is talented enough, but his heart is so tender and competition is not really in his genetic make up.

But he wanted to play, so we signed him up.

“I’m afraid I’ll hurt someone,” he said. “And, I’m afraid I won’t do a good job and you will be disappointed.”

“Son, let me tell you something,” Lee said, turning the rearview mirror so he could look into the eyes of his first born. The one he loves fiercely and deeply and proudly. “You can make every single play, throw the ball perfectly and win the top championship in the world, and I will be so proud of you and I will love you,” he said and Sloan nodded.

“And you can miss every pass, fumble every ball, miss every tackle and trip over your own two feet the entire game, losing every game you play and I will be so proud of you and I will love you.” Sloan nodded again.

“There is nothing you can do on or off that football field that will change the fact that I am proud of you and I love you. Because you are my son and that’s all that matters to me.”

To us, they will always be kids. They will fail and they will succeed. They will hurt and mess up and get angry and they will still be our children.

I don’t need a gold medal or a championship ring or a World Series pennant to be a proud and emotional Mama.  

Are you watching the Olympics? Are you as tired as I am?

Comments

  1. Because we don’t have tv, I miss out on things like the Olympics – and advertisements. Thanks a lot, that video made me blubber, too!

  2. Well you got me sister! This is great. I love this post so much.

    Bless Sloan’s sweet heart :)

  3. Yup. Whimper/sobbing here….thanks.

    Aly Raismann’s parents were the best. I can’t wait to watch them again tonight. We stayed up way too late Sunday, hit the hay at 10:00 last night, and will be up way late tonight. This is why I have coffee.

  4. You made me cry at work! I was doing ok up until the part where you wrote about what Lee said to Sloan, you DO know what an amazing Gem you have in a husband don’t you?

  5. LOVE….that’s all!

    I really enjoyed the glimpse in to Missy Franklin’s life last night and how her parents kept her close to home and what a ‘normal’ life she seems to have. I have also always been thankful that our kids were not “super athletes” so we never had to make those hard choices. They played and had fun and won a few championships over their years!

    • It’s something I worry about some, honestly. All three of our kids are natural athletes, but two of them show real promise and drive to be extraordinarily gifted and yet I want a normal, not too busy existence. I think about how we will balance it a lot. :)

  6. the olympics are so fun!

    it’s a big night tonight! can’t wait!

  7. Thanks for the Kleenex warning.. If only I had heeded your warning. Beautiful. Well done, Lee. You’re a good man.