Monday, August 22, 2016

The Backstory

We all have a backstory ~ it makes us who we are. All the good, all the bad........the relationships we've had, our family and our friends, have all played a part in who we are today.

Some people carry their hurt.....and their heart, on their sleeve.  Other people have accumulated so much anger for all the disappointments in their life, it seems to permeate off them.

And there are others, you may never know by looking at them, or talking to them, all the sorrow they've experienced and the pain they have gone through.

Before I moved, I went to visit with Pastor Fred, and he said that there will come a time when people will look at Zack and I and never have any idea of what we've gone through.  That we will just be a mother and a son, and not a widow and a son who lost his father.

At the time I found that hard to believe.

But today, as I sit out at the football fields, among the parents, and I interact with the coaches while watching Zack play......we are at the point.

These people don't know our back story.  They probably think that I'm divorced and Zack's father is not an involved dad.

Which makes me sad. Because he would have given ANYTHING to be here, cheering on his son as he plays in his first big game, and then talking it through afterwards. He was always supporting his efforts.

I watch Zack out on the field, listening to the coaches, taking in their compliments and praise, and I know how much he has needed that interaction and that outlet.

Over the last year, I have handed out snippets of information on our back story because there are always questions when people first get to know you. Especially people that are interacting with us on a regular basis. Right up front I try to nip them in the bud with 'my husband being deceased,' so they aren't wondering how come Zack's father isn't around.

When Zack played basketball in the fall and winter last year, and soccer in the spring, I didn't share our story with those coaches.  He wasn't that committed.

But these football coaches should I see them having an impact on my son.

I guess it's time for another conversation.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Change is Constant

There is one constant in life and that is Change.  Just when we think we have something figured out, it shifts and changes.

Life is always evolving and we have to evolve with it, or get swept away with the tide.

There are times when I feel like all I'm doing is trying to balance on a surf board as wave after wave of change hits me.  It can be a exhausting, constantly trying to maintain balance on those waves.

My latest wave is what to do with Zack once school starts, to get picked up after school, so he is taken care of and I can work?

When we first moved to Tampa, I had signed him up for an after school program at our club.  But it wasn't right for him at the time.  He was coping with the move, dealing with the tough transition of a new school and grappling with the culture shock of the kids he wasn't used to.

So I decided on having a sitter pick him up every day from school and bring him home to chill.

Sitter after sitter moved through our lives over the last year.  Each one leaving for different reasons, with a couple of them not being the right fit, and I let them go.

The last sitter quit the day before we left on vacation.

This was extremely frustrating, because if I knew I wouldn't have  her for the rest of the summer, I would have signed Zack up for a couple of camps before school started.

Now I had to regroup after arriving home, and take him with me everywhere while I got things done.  I even brought him to one of my meetings because I had no one to watch him.

I needed a new crop of sitters to call one!  One high school girl we liked a lot just graduated and went off to college, and another high school girl went overseas for a month during summer. I was out of sitters.

After a week, luckily I found a high school boy to hang out with Zack for the last 3 weeks of summer.

But what happens when school starts?

I had reached out to so many people to find a part time sitter for school, preferably a college student who had classes in the morning, could pick up Zack from school and watch him until early evening.

But no one ever materialized.  And I was trying to figure out the time complication of Zack having to be a football practice by 5:45pm 4 nights a week until September and then 3 nights a week until November.

Balance ~ Balance ~ Balance ~ What is the answer?

I kept playing out scenarios in my head, and asking for an answer.

Then it hit me.  Zack was Now ready for an After School program.  

A place he can engage with other kids, make some new friends, and a get help with his homework.  Then I can pick him up before football practice, take him there, and limit any late day meetings until after football season.

It has been a year since we moved.  He is happy to be living in Florida now, and he is very happy to be playing football.  That is a positive change.

Now I just have to find the Right Program for him and pray that it is the right decision for him! 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Feeling the Void with Football

I am a Big football fan and my nickname for Jeff was "Sport Boy."

So when we had Zack ~ football was in his blood.  Plus, he was brainwashed at an early age when Jeff hung a University of Miami mobile over his crib, and a signed Limited Edition Framed Lithograph of Dan Marino over his changing table.

I also watched football games every Sunday with the NFL Sunday Ticket, while Zack ran around with a small football, in the living room pretending he was one of the players on tv.

But when Zack was able to play tackle football in 1st grade I was hesitant.  Growing up, Pop Warner tackle football in my town didn't start until 4th grade, and I had that age in my mind.  1st grade seemed too young to me.

I would have preferred to have waited a couple of years to have Zack play organized football, but Jeff wanted to present the option to Zack and see what he wanted.  He was gung ho from the beginning, even after we thoroughly explained the time commitment.

As practice began Zack was so excited to be out there practicing and playing with the other boys, and he had such an aptitude for the game that they made him backup quarterback in 1st grade.

Looking back, even though that was a very tough time for me, juggling Zack's practices, games and Jeff's sickness ~ the time that they were able to spend, sharing that football connection was priceless.

Jeff made it to every practice and every game, and was so proud to see Zack play.

For the last 2 years Zack and I took a break from football.  Playing in 2nd grade, months after Jeff passed away was too hard, and last year before 3rd grade started, we moved down to Tampa.

Zack has been hounding me to play this year and I felt it was time.

As I sit out at a 2.5 hour practice, watching him work on conditioning, running, throwing and handing off, tears fill my eyes.

Zack is in his Glory!  After the first practice, his coaches saw the same qualities in him as his previous coach and started him at quarterback.  This time he will be the starter!!

He is ecstatic, and Jeff is probably grinning from ear to ear as he watches from above.

Meanwhile, I feel the void of doing this alone and juggling this huge commitment.  It wasn't supposed to be this way.