Monday, September 17, 2012

Brokenhearted Basketball Player

Connor loves basketball. He has loved it since he was a tiny boy shooting hoops with dad and his Little Tikes basketball net. He started playing in the YMCA youth league in Fredericton in grade one, and last year he played on his first competitive team. He loved every minute of it, right up to the heartbreaking finish at the OBA tournament in March.

Try-outs for this year's team were last week. He spent Monday and Thursday evenings running drills and shooting hoops with his buddies, most of whom were on his team last year. He came home exhausted each night, but excited about the prospects for the coming year. Chris and I worried a bit about whether or not he is ready for basketball at this level. There are no equal playing time rules this year, and we really didn't want to see him spend the year on the bench. But I thought surely the boys from last year's team had the best shot at making the team this year.

The team roster was to be posted on the website on Saturday by 8:00 p.m. We spent the day at Canada's Wonderland, and didn't get home until 11:30. Chris and I checked immediately, but the site had not been updated. I checked a number of times before I finally went to bed, but the roster was empty. When I woke up the next morning, Chris was reading his iPod. "He didn't make it," he said. My heart sank. How would we tell Connor? We spent 20 minutes discussing our strategy for breaking this inevitably devastating news to our precious son before heading downstairs to find him watching TV with his sister. He turned to us with red eyes and said "Did you see the website?" He had already checked as soon as he woke up. I opened my arms and he fell into them and cried. My boy's heart was broken and there wasn't one thing I could do about it.

He wasn't angry. He didn't ask "Why?" He didn't blame anyone or begrudge any of his friends who had made the team. He even admitted that it was better to not be on the team at all than to ride bench all season. He was just so sad.

We had planned to fall back on the opportunity this would give Connor to play on his school basketball team this year. School ball is not nearly as competitive as OBA basketball at this level, and he would certainly do well representing Lambeth Public School. However, with the current situation in Ontario schools, it is unlikely there will be a basketball team this year. Or possibly next year, for that matter. And that means no basketball at all for Connor. And that breaks my heart.

I wish it was just about not making this team. I wish it wasn't also about not playing basketball at all. I wish it wasn't about no longer seeing all the friends he made on the team last year (They don't go to his school, or even live near enough to get together easily). I wish Connor's self-esteem was not so wrapped up in being a basketball player. I pray that it isn't, in the end. I pray that he knows that he is an amazing kid who is good at so many things, whose parents and so many others love him and appreciate his kind heart and great attitude, who just happens to like to play basketball. And I also hope he continues to love basketball. I'll miss hearing the rhythmic bounce, bounce, bounce on the driveway, and seeing his ecstatic grin when he makes a great shot.

Connor recovered amazingly well yesterday. He showered and got ready for church, even joking around with us at breakfast. We took his buddy with us when we went out for brunch after church, and they spent the afternoon together. His only other mention of the sad news was last night when Janelle was talking about the class Chris is taking on Monday nights. "I guess Monday's won't be so hard for you now, Mom," not adding "now that I won't have basketball practice". I know how he's hurting inside, but I know he's trying to make the best of it and keep a smile on his face. That's my sweet boy.

Being a parent is HARD!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beautiful Dancer

This is my daughter.
She loves to sing, dance, and play the piano (unless you mean practicing the piano).
She is beautiful, strong, and confident, far more than her mother was at her age.
She loves purple and mismatched socks and Justin Bieber.
She is easy-going and fun and her laughter is contagious.
She is one of the greatest joys of my life.
And last month she turned nine years old. Wow. Time just sneaks up on you, doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Disappearing Act

Did summer happen this year? Clearly my blog missed it. But I almost feel like I did, too. What happened to "Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer"? I don't remember many of those as the last several weeks flew past me on the road to this "Back to school week". And here we are in September. How did that happen?

One thing the kids and I realized this year is that summer vacation is shorter in Ontario than in New Brunswick. More than a week shorter this year! Cousins and friends back home finished school a whole week before my kids were set free, and while Connor and Janelle dressed in new clothes and toted new backpacks back to Lambeth Public School yesterday, most New Brunswick students didn't climb back on the school bus until today. Nine weeks. Nine short weeks that this year were carved up into three very easily defined portions. Weeks one, two and three we were settling into summer, enduring unbelievable temperatures, attending a week of day camp (basketball for Connor, church day camp for Janelle and I), and packing for vacation (with my annual case of strep throat, I might add). Weeks four, five and six we were driving to New Brunswick, visiting family and friends, enjoying my sister's cottage, and all to soon saying goodbyes and heading back to Ontario (this time with some shopping in Freeport and a visit to the Basketball Hall of Fame thrown in to make the trip more fun). When we got home I could hardly believe week seven was already here, and it was time for Janelle to head to theatre camp, and Connor and I to volunteer one more week at our church's day camp. That week flew by, and we found ourselves in week eight, Janelle still at theatre camp preparing for her stage debut as a seagull in Finding Nemo, Chris home sick most of the week, and me bribing Connor to go back-to-school shopping. Chris took most of last week of for vacation, so we decided to take a long-promised camping trip to the Pinery, a provincial park on Lake Huron. The kids were over-the-moon excited, and I was too, until I started to feel the beginnings of Chris's flu taking over. I went anyway, and slept in the tent while the rest canoed and rode bikes, enjoyed the Smores and my hubby's Coleman stove cooking, read in my camp chair, and did manage to head down to the beach for a swim. We arrived home just a few hours before the Moores arrived for a weekend visit. Thankfully they are one of the few families that I am happy to have staying at my house despite feeling miserable, knowing they are happy to help Chris with dinners and just hang out on the deck and visit and play Wizard, while our kids ride bikes and play video games and sleep in the tent in our backyard. Ellen and I did manage a shopping trip to Winners and Homesense and a girls dinner out, coming home to find our husbands had fed the kids and built a fire in the new firepit. Nothing like ending the summer with Smores and the Moores.
My only "Back to School" picture. My lens
had fogged up in the humidity, and as usual,
we were too behind schedule to snap

And so here we are. The first day of school was my first day feeling a bit like myself again. Connor got the teacher he wanted, but didn't get in his best buddy's class. Janelle got the teacher she wanted, and is back in class with her friend from Grade 2. All in all, they are both happy. At least they were yesterday. Who knows what today will bring. Who knows what the rest of the year will bring, but I'm looking forward to finding out. Despite summer's disappearing act, we made some new memories, and I know that before long I'll be writing a "last day of school" post about how once again the school year has flown by. A good reminder to slow down and enjoy every moment. I think I'll go downstairs and sit on my front porch and listen to the quiet for half an hour, until my house once again will fill with the chatter of my favourite voices.