The problem started when Cubby’s momma invited the family to Cubby’s cross country meet. Cubby is in his first year of middle school, so of course when out in public he prefers to pretend he hatched from a pod and therefore has no pesky family members around to embarrass him. We knew he’d prefer not to have a herd of us rellies standing on the tape line waving, snapping photos, and chanting his name. We went anyway.
I was not prepared for how little the kids looked lining up at the starting line. To me, they may as well have been in kindergarten. It was chilly out and the kids were in shorts. I wanted to take them all home and feed them cocoa with marshmallows and warm chocolate chip cookies. The race started, and just about that time the sky opened up. By the time they rounded back to finish the first of two laps, they were soaked and red faced and miserable looking. Oh, my heart just broke. There’s a disabled kid on the team who runs with a guide. How awesome is that? And the volunteer guide? What a great guy. Uh oh, last straw – here come the weepies!
My Tamoxifen has been turning me into a giant pile of hormones lately. I've been on the stuff since Christmas Eve, but according to my doctor, the side effects will come and go the whole time I'm on the medication. I am not used to turning into a weepy puddle of mush at the drop of a hat and I've not yet figured out how to control these little bursts.
Now I know Cubs would be mortified if anyone saw his auntie having a breakdown under the oak trees, so I did my best to distract myself from the sight of all these poor, soggy children running up the hill. But then here came my Cubby. I have to say, running is not his strongest skill at this point. But I also have to say, that kid does not give up. He was completely drenched, he looked like he was in pain, and clearly he was miserable, but he kept going and finished both laps. And all while totally ignoring his parents, his brother, two aunts, a grandma, and an uncle cheering him on. I have never been more proud.
I knew he was disappointed in his performance and I wanted to tell him how great I thought he was, but I knew I would never be able to vocalize those feelings without turning into a total basket case, which would probably send the kid straight to therapy. Instead, I sent this email:
Hi Cubby ~
I just want to tell you how proud I am of you. You know those races are hard and you run them anyway ~ lots of people would give up without even trying. But not you. You gave it 100 percent. That shows great strength of character. You are growing into a fine young man. I am very, very proud of you.
Cubby now lives in fear that I will somehow – gasp! – hug him. He walks sideways around the house so he can keep an eye on me at all times. If I get within eight feet of him, he bolts. So much for offering solace. Sigh. At least Squeak still thinks I'm awesome.