When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
The phone call
It was Noah, calling from a cell phone on the pool deck where he was supposed to be starting swim practice. The lack of swimsuit was going to be a serious impediment to his progress in that regard.
I could have used this unfortunate instance as a teachable moment, an opportunity for me to say, "I'm sorry to hear that. I guess you'll have to sit out of practice today, and make sure you remember your suit next time." (I've said this on one other occasion months ago when the swimsuit was also forgotten and I received a similar call.) I could have given the all-too-familiar lecture (in an exasperated voice) about the importance of getting things organized the night before, so that nothing is forgotten in the after-school rush to get to the pool on time.
But instead, I told him to meet me at the pool building's doors in fifteen minutes, and I collected his swimsuit from the drying rack in the laundry room and drove it to him.
He's been juggling a lot of balls lately. He made four trips to London over three days this past weekend to compete in regionals for swimming, where he made finals for several of his events. He's still practising at the pool two hours a day, five days a week. He's been working hard in the evenings to complete the last few assignments for his high school course, and preparing for his upcoming final exam, striving for an even higher grade than the excellent one he achieved at midterm. He's writing and rehearsing a speech to present to his class later this week in the hopes of being voted class valedictorian for his grade 8 graduation. He's competing in the area track and field meet tomorrow, where he'll represent his school in the 1500 and 800m races. He's doing a triathlon next weekend, and volunteering in the pool before his own event to assist little swimmers who might need a helping hand in that leg of the race. If my head is spinning trying to keep all of the information related to these events straight, I imagine his brain must be near exploding sometimes, and his body must be tired, too. Forgetting a swimsuit seems a minor blip in the big, brilliant picture of things.
Sometimes it's our job as parents to teach our kids responsibility and organization and all of the other important life skills we think they'll need to be successful. Sometimes, though, it feels right to just support them, to let them know that we'll still be there for them if they need us, even when they've shown themselves most of the time to be incredibly mature, clever, and capable.
The trip to the pool and back took me 45 minutes when it should have taken half that, because I found out at the last second that the road we usually take was closed due to construction, and the detour got me stuck behind a Greyhound bus that would not move, and the university campus where the pool is located was bursting with students wearing convocation caps and gowns and families trying to take pictures of them, and there were almost as many geese on the road as there were people, and I might have cursed once or twice under my breath. Still, I was happy to be able to hand that little piece of black fabric to Noah through the car window when I finally met up with him. Today, I wanted the simple gesture of a delivered swimsuit to say, "I love you, and I'm so proud of every amazing thing you're managing to do these days." I hope he received the message loud and clear.