Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
I am sitting in the lobby of Gabe's music school with Sydney and Taylor. Gabe has piano for an hour (30 minutes of lab and 30 minutes of lessons) every Monday evening. We only live 5 minutes away so, usually, the girls and I drop him off at 5, and come back to pick him up at 6. But, today, he asked if I would wait inside for him. When I started to object, he looked disappointed.
I asked, "Why do you want me to wait today, Honey?"
"Because, sometimes when I'm there I feel lonely," he answered honestly.
And, even though the idea of entertaining the girls for an entire hour in the teeny-tiny lobby seemed like a headache, my mind flashed back to some 20 years ago. As a kid, I remember being dropped off at the gym every night. Most nights it wasn't a big deal that my Mom didn't stay and watch practice. I got it. I knew 3 hours was an unreasonable amount of time to expect her to sit there and watch me. I knew she had other things to do, like run my big brother to his activities, clean the house, cook dinner, etc. I understood that a three hour practice, each and every night, was just plain boring to sit through.
But, I also remember loving it when she did stay to watch me, even if it was only for 20 or 30 minutes. I remember how excited I got when she happened to get there early before practice let out. I always felt more secure when she was there. Being at gymnastics didn't seem like such a chore when she was there to support me.
As a result of my own childhood, when Gabe told me he felt lonely at practice, I could relate. Therefore, I loaded up the girls, packed their DS's, and we all attended piano together.
So, that's one of my goals as a Mom: to never forget what it felt like to be a kid. Whether it's sitting through piano, finding a failed test in a backpack, respecting their first crush, understanding the impact of that first kiss (among other things,) finding out they took their first drink, nursing that first hang-over, consoling their first heart-break, or enduring public humiliation for a poor, spontaneous choice…I hope to be able to do what I did tonight: Pause long enough to remember what it felt like some 20 years ago, take that into consideration, and then react accordingly and fairly.
I'm not looking to be their best friend. My hope is that if I make a conscious effort to find empathy during their most serious and important moments, rather than dismissing their feelings because "they're just kids," I might have a shot at having an open, honest and trusting relationship with them. And when the big situations arise, I hope to have demonstrated enough compassion along the way for them to seek my guidance and learn to trust my experience.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
So here's the deal, Coach Izzo: You offended a lot of people with your passion yesterday. While I think you meant well and what you were trying to say may have been valid, I fear that a number of people are not hearing your true meaning.
How do you think Mateen Cleaves or Morris Peterson felt when they learned that they had no identity as Michigan State University National Basketball Champions? How do you think Chris Schaller, a former Michigan State University Lacrosse Player, felt when you claimed that his identity as a Spartan never existed, even prior to his sport being yanked out from beneath him as a result of Title IX? How do you think I felt, a former NCAA National Qualifying Spartan Gymnast who endured four shoulder surgeries in an effort to continue to compete for her school?
No matter what logo we had on our shirts, we knew who we were and what school we were representing. We never questioned our identity as Spartans. In some cases, we were more Spartans than we were people. We gave our heart and soul to Michigan State University. So, please, don't shame us.
When I went home to my small town and wore my Block S Varsity letter jacket, I can promise you that everyone there knew I was a Spartan. Never once did I have to explain where I went to school. I was a Spartan, a Big Ten Athlete, and people were impressed with the reverence of the jacket.
I can promise you that when my husband, a former Spartan Soccer Player, and I write our annual donation check to Michigan State University, there is no confusion as to which school we are sending it to because of lack of identity.
I know this is not how you meant it. But, the fact of the matter is this is how it is being heard. This is why people are upset. At Michigan State University, we were taught to be winners. We were taught to preservere and endure. We were taught to take pride in ourselves, our teammates and in our school. We were Big Ten Spartan Student-Athletes because we were committed and coachable.
And right now we need to be coached. We need to be led. Inspire us to jump on board with the logo. Don't bully us. Remind us that a logo doesn't define us as Spartans. It is your heart that makes you a Spartan. It is your winning attitude that makes you a Spartan. It is your ability to overcome difficult obstacles gracefully that makes you a Spartan. It is your willingness to look past your own opinions in an effort to stand strong, united, and proud that makes you a Spartan. It is leading by example with strong, moral character no matter what the given scoreboard may read that makes you a Spartan. It is what is inside of you that determines whether or not you deserve to be identified as a Spartan, not the picture on the front of your shirt.
I am a Spartan. You could paint my shirt red and adopt a puppy as the new mascot. I would still be a Spartan. No one can take that away from me.