Tag Archives: disappointment

Happy Birthday, Cam

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You were delivered to us on a beautiful June day, 22 years ago.  When you left my body, I shivered and they piled on warm blankets.  I laid there listening to the doctor and nurses guess your weight. 10lbs 12oz.  I thought you looked like a baby sumo wrestler!

 

 

As a young boy in a large body, you were 20120211_150135often thought to be older than you were.  Many a time I had to remind myself!  You were so affectionate; gentle and tender hearted. 31792_10150192936930556_6491803_n     You would have been about 6 When the Principal of the little Christian school you went to in Yellowknife told us how much she loved your hugs…..and then asked us if we would ask you NOT to lift her off the floor!

You have always given the best hugs. 129_11705100555_4458_n It’s virtually impossible to ignore your size, but those you got to know you also knew that your stature was outmatched by the size of your heart, by your compassion and care of others.  As you’ve grown, we’ve watched how you love people, without discrimination.  You don’t see age, race, gender or disability and that is a rare and beautiful quality, my son.  When company came, you greeted them at the door.  If they had suitcases, you carried them to their room.  I remember when poppa brought John down for a few days before he passed away.  You’d never met the man, but you spent real time with him; you took a genuine interest in him and that’s not common in one as young as you were.  I know he appreciated that.

That protective instinct we saw in you became a passion of yours that has been played out in the game you love.  It is impossible to think of you and NOT think of football.  You were 7 when dad first took you for tryouts where he was told you were….seriously?  He’s too BIG for football??35825_10150201797755556_6958895_n

“Bring him back next year” said the men in charge.

“Do you think he’s going to get smaller??  Look, I’ll pay the full fare; just let him practice with the kids.  You don’t even have to give him a helmet….”

I think you and dad did the trek to the football sign ups 3 times; Tyke football was just not part of the plan. At 12 you told your dad you were going to lose the 40 lbs necessary to play football at the Pee Wee level.   That’s a lotta’ weight for one so young, but you did it.

It was brutal.

And it didn’t get any easier the following year after growing several inches, but you were determined to play your last year with your team at the Pee Wee level.  You had the support and encouragement of your family and coaches….well, most of your coaches.  There was Hobbs.

His name became akin to a four letter word in our house.  Men like Hobbs ought not to be coaching children; they should be drill sergeants or….border guards.  Rather than encourage you, the man-with-a- Napoleonic-complex-if-ever-there-was-one told you to quit, more than once.  You had to learn to drown out the negative noise that fell from that man’s mouth.

It was brutal. 31792_10150192948355556_2624728_n Despite the difficulties, challenges and setbacks you encountered, sometimes at your own hand, you pulled it out and lost the weight.  Don’t think it could have been any closer; wish I had a picture of you with that shirt made of netting that you and your dad bought prior to weigh in!  I don’t expect you’ll ever forget the cheer that arose from your mates, their parents and the other coaches.   31792_10150192963220556_4415880_n

 

 

 

Your dream became to play in the NFL.  There’s no easy path to getting there; no guarantees or golden tickets.  When we moved you to Ogdensburg so you could play American high school football, 5 minutes from a border you couldn`t cross for 10 months, you were 1 of about 1,000,000 athletes to play high school football in the US.  To get to Division 1 football from there, you had to overcome odds of about 1 in 1,000.  AND YET you are currently 1 of about 12,000 athletes who play Division 1 College football.  23600_10150163537375556_4913802_n

Your position as an Offensive Lineman is reserved for the biggest players.  Thanks to stats 297097_10152152553580618_1656310790_nyour dad has kept, WE KNOW that you are 1 of roughly 2,400 Offensive Line athletes currently on the rosters at 128 Division 1 teams across the U.S.  When considering both size AND weight, in comparison to the other 2,400 OL athletes in Division 1 football, you rank in the top 27 guys returning this fall.

Or roughly 1%.

Going to games and watching you pace the sidelines last year; that was tough and at the end of a long and difficult season, you considered leaving Eastern.  You didn’t WANT to, but you found yourself in a place where you were forced to consider your options.

One was to allow your name to stand in the CFL draft held this spring.  Had you done so, you would NOT have returned to EMU for your senior year. IMG_2012However, any thoughts about leaving Eastern for the CFL were shut down last fall when the CFL amended a long-standing draft rule to eliminate as draft prospects all Canadian-born athletes playing Division 1 football in the U.S. and currently in their Junior year.

That one rule change affected only 5 athletes on the face of the planet; you were one of them.

That rule change eliminated your chance to leave Eastern before your senior year, and without that change you very likely would have never played for the new coaching staff at Eastern.  Now you are being guided and assisted by a completely new staff of coaches at Eastern, many of whom are Christians.     Tyler Allen

You’ve lived away from your family since you were 15.  You’ve battled with negativity; that of others as well as your own.  You’ve enjoyed great relationships with coaches and have learned how to be a team player.  You’ve known winning, and you’ve also known loss:  games, seasons, Coaches and, most tragically, a team mate. 050

Every step gets you closer. 

Every lesson makes you wiser. 

Every battle makes you stronger.

 

 

Today you’re 22, and though we aren’t able to gather around a table and eat cake, we will be thinking of you and celebrating the young man that you are.  I’m thankful, Cam, to have been able to walk through this life with you; thankful to be your mom.  I’m thankful to have witnessed the disappointments and celebrated the accomplishments; you have challenged me.  Whatever lay ahead, I am so very proud of you; the compassionate, encouraging, loving man that you are.

Don’t ever stop.

Don’t ever stop believing in yourself.

Don’t ever stop working hard and doing your very best. (Col 3:23)

Don’t ever stop believing in our God who is well able to do abundantly more than you could ever think or ask.549925_10152569213695618_800471341_n (640x449)

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Don’t be afraid to get a little wet

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I took Rhys and Tess to swimming lessons on Monday. Tess is 1 of 2 little girls in her class.  Sophie apparently has mermaid blood. Not only is she part fish, but she’s a cute little thing that has all of the answers to all of the questions her teachers ask.  Never a complaint or any sign of fear.

She’s the kind of girl many of us grew up not liking……but that’s a whole other blog post.

So Monday.  The instructors took the girls out to the dock so they could jump off. Sophie is not only jumping off and swimming back (why is she in this class??), but while Tess stood silently, hesitantly on the dock, seemingly frozen in fear, Sophie is asking if she can jump in more. Talk about humiliation…or maybe that’s just what Tess’ mom was feeling.   I found that I was, well, disappointed.

I tried to encourage from the sidelines. I clapped and said all the right things; I had my phone at the ready so I could catch Tess’ figure as it arced gracefully into the water, a look of glee on her angelic face.  After several minutes…..several very long minutes…..I put my phone down and walked a few meters away to the main dock wondering what her issue is.  My normally fearless girl never needs this much cajoling to do anything, except maybe apologize.  I wondered if I was pressuring too much.  Maybe she’d do better if I weren’t out there, phone in hand…..maybe she’s just a kid who hasn’t spent much time in the water and has some stage fright.

At this point, Tess is half way through her 4 weeks of lessons. At home, Tess is the child who knows it all, a finely honed craft she’s used on everybody in the house.  Her response to most anything anybody tells her is “I know”.  Of course you do…..  She is the child who is never wrong…..at least never admits to being wrong.  She is, in many ways, me.  I doubt my mother would agree, and I’m sure being the oldest of 3 girls is a heck of a lot different than being the youngest of 8, but I do not like to admit to being wrong.  Oh, I can apologize for all sorts of things…..but that’s entirely different.

After I left my perfect picture spot, the teachers finally coaxed my daughter into the water.  I don’t think she got all of her head wet, but some of her face went in. When she got out, she came to me…..”did I do good mommy?”  “You’re getting better, Tess” was my response. Best I could come up with in the midst of my disappointment.  Oh come on!  Don’t tell me you’ve never felt disappointment with something your child did, or didn’t do!!

I’ve spent zero time in the water with my youngest.  Well, there was that one time at the hotel…..ya, zero time.  I found myself thinking that perhaps she would do better, feel more comfortable if I had actually gotten in the water WITH her.  Better late than never, so, that afternoon this mama donned a bathing suit and headed to the beach and actually got IN the water.  I cajoled and encouraged; I pulled Tess around; I tried to get her to relax as she lay on her back like a star fish.  I found myself slightly frustrated when I didn’t see what I hoped would happen….my sparkly-eyed, angelic faced, know-it-all child swim, but it was a start.

The following day I asked hubby to take the kids to their lessons.  I don’t understand what happened, but half way through the lesson Tess decided she could stick not just her face in the water, but her head.  She could float on her back and and she could doggy paddle with mermaid-Sophie.  Everyone came home full of great reports of Tess’ improvement and that afternoon, when I took the blonde and her brother swimming, we had great fun!  She showed me all of her tricks and looked at me with that precocious smile of hers.  When I hugged her, we laughed….and I was thrilled.

I don’t know if Tess learned anything from all of this; well, aside from swimming, but Tess’ mom did.  I was reminded that I can’t be an encouragement to Tess….or anyone for that matter…..if I’m not willing to “get a little wet”.  How can I teach my daughter by example if I am not willing to be one?

This morning it was my turn to take them to swimming lessons, so I put my bathing suit on.