Thursday, September 9, 2010

23rd Place

In the land of parents who take credit for their kids' first place ribbons, honor roll membership, and accelerated status, with bumper stickers who will proudly tell you all about it, I'd like to offer an alternative post of sorts.  My daughter's cross-country team had their first scrimmage today, with an opposing school district.  As I picked her up, so to speak, with Seth in the jogging stroller, she came running towards me- "Mommy, guess what? I came in 23rd!"  For many of you, this would seem to be some sort of ill-placed pride.  Maybe laughable.  But here is what 23rd means tonight.  23rd means that Lily, despite all of her anxiety and fear, did join the team, never having "run" a day in her life.  23rd means that for the last ten days, she has practiced, every day, after school, for at least an hour, running in some of the hottest weather we have had this season.  23rd means that not ever did my daughter utter one negative word, one cry of defeat, one morsel of woe.  23rd means that she did not quit when her legs were sore, when her head was pounding, and when she was beat up, beaten down, and drenched with sweat.  23rd means that this girl of mine gave it all the guts she could muster which also means that she's got more going for her, right now, than most of the rest of us. 23rd  means that she was not last- the worst case scenario that we discussed, as I encouraged her for two hours, in our living room, almost three weeks ago ("but what if I'm the worst?" she cried.  "Well," I said "so you are the worst, but you keep practicing and one day you won't be."  I think there's some law of physics or philosophy that says that, right?)

On any day of the week, right now, I've got at least 22 things I could write about that scare me to death- things I'm dealing with, losing at....Just ask my mail-man, who was rather dumbfounded upon finding three women, including me, in front of my house this morning, in athletic gear, in a huddle, crying together...

But 23- now that is the sweetness that made all of the hours after I heard it, tolerable and hopeful- my arms around her- inhaling that courage- giving up all of my love in one breath- "you, my wonderful baby girl, you AMAZE ME and I think 23 is fantastic."

4 comments:

Lori said...

Oh, Judy. You have such a way with words. I have chills. Congrats to Lily! I remember having that same conversation with Kathryn this summer with the swim team. She was so worried about being last and I had to reassure her that it didn't matter because just the fact that she was trying was enough to make me so proud and that it also made her a winner. Beautiful post. <3

Leanne said...

I'm crying reading this, Judy. Lily is truly amazing! What spirit and dedication and overcoming her fear! Oh, I love that! 23rd place--truly the best! I join her and you in being proud.

Deidre said...

I love it! Lily is one phenomenal young lady and it's because she has one phenomenal mom.

Deidre said...

I love it! Lily is one phenomenal young lady and it's because she has one phenomenal mom.

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