Thursday, April 27, 2017

Growing Up Is Hard on Me

Maybe it's the weather, which has taken depressing to a whole new level. Or maybe it's just "that time" in a mother's life. Whatever the reason, one night this week, as I finally sat on the couch at the end of the day, I watched my teenage son organize his binder for school and experienced the worst nostalgia I have ever felt. He asked me to help him organize his binder, which I would have loved to do, but I didn't. I knew it wouldn't serve him well to have me do for him what he needs to do for himself, and he wouldn't like the way I did it, anyway. But as he stood there organizing it, I sat watching him, and I thought, "Why do they have to grow up? Why can't parents just take care of them forever?" He later sat down next to me and I told him I missed the days when he was a little guy and he could sit on my lap and wrap his sturdy arm around my neck, and I said, "Why do you have to grow up?" And he very wisely said, "Because we don't live in Neverland, Mom."

I know this. The harsh reality of kids growing up is a heart wrenching concept for a mother to endure, though. The older my kiddos get, the less they need me. And I can hardly bear the thought that before I blink, they will be on their own, making their own decisions. When I think about the world today and how hard it is, I wish I could keep them a little longer and help them. I wish I didn't have to let them go. I wish I could go back to when they were little and do it over and do it better and make it last.

Britt has become tall and lean. He has always been tall for his age, but a bit on the chunky side. It feels like he changed overnight. His thirteen years have zipped by in a flash. Before I know it, he will be out of the house and trying to make it on his own, and thinking about that makes me sadder than I can even describe. What will he do in this competitive, crazy, scary world? Likewise, Brailey is only three years away from graduating high school. How can this be?! She used to say she was going to leave home right away. Now she has decided she might stick around for a year or two. I sure hope she stays. She can stay as long as she wants, right? No. But she certainly doesn't have to leave any sooner than she needs to. Neither one of them do. They are welcome to stay with us until they are on solid footing.

I think I feel this wave of sadness because of the world we live in today. It isn't the same world I grew up in. Back in the "good old days," the world was not half as scary. Compared to today, with all the technology and evil lurking around every single corner, the 80's and early 90's seem like the best time the world has ever known. The time I grew up in was better than we ever knew. We had it made! What I wouldn't give for cell phones and the internet to never have been invented. Yes, technology has it's perks, but for every good there's a bad, and I think the bad may outweigh the good when it comes to the way we use technology today. I mean, people are raising their kids on screens, for pity's sake! Yes, I'm "That Mom," the mean one who limits time on my kids' phones. And frankly, I probably don't limit it enough.

Of course hindsight is 20/20. I understand things a little better, now. My kids have been in Spanish Immersion since first grade, and I have always, every step of the way, questioned if it was the right decision for them. Being bilingual is a major tool they will use in their adult lives. I am grateful they will have this skill. However, although they are well-versed in other cultures, they have barely been exposed to anything truly American. I have always been bothered by many things in their education, and I finally understand why. I'm a conservative raising my kids in one of the most liberal parts of the nation. No wonder it offended me that we didn't celebrate Halloween, Christmas or Valentine's Day or say the Pledge of Allegiance daily or that Brailey's 8th grade graduation had no personal recognition for the top achievers in the class (that may have hurt the underachiever's feelings). Finally, this and so much more makes sense to me.

And I don't like it, not one bit. I know in my heart my kids would have done better at a small, country school like the one I went to. I have even thought of Home School for them, but I've yet to meet an adult who was home schooled that is socially adept. Home schooling would be the easy way out - no trips to town, lots more free time to do the things we want to do, but no experience dealing with real people. And they are going to need every single skill they are learning in dealing with a different mindset than ours, because like it or not, our nation has come to a civil war on principals and values.

So it should come as no surprise that I am scared for my children. Scared for their safety, worried about what they will do to make a living, will they meet the right people, will they be happy. And once again, I just want to go back in time and keep them safe from harm protect them from the wickedness of this world as much as I can. If only time didn't go by so quickly. If only I didn't have to raise them just to let them go.
A few pictures of when they were little... Before time passed us by. These are from Brady's niece's wedding. Precious!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More Golf and Basketball Fun

As I write this, it it is rainy and windy and frankly nasty, which is the same spring weather we have been dealing with for the past several weeks. But we lucked out on the weather last Thursday for Brailey's golf tournament, thank goodness - there were showers, but it was clear during the time she played. The only problem was that they played the outside of the course instead of the inside, and the outside is a swampy mess. It made for some incredibly rough conditions. I felt so bad for the girls, but they persevered and made it through. They each lost several balls, and we all had wet feet by the time we reached the last hole. The good news, however, is that they each improved their scores from last week, and this time, Brailey ended up second in the tournament! She played with the same girls from Thurston, and now they are buddies. That is the nice thing about golf - pretty much everyone who plays is friendly. It is refreshing, let me tell you, and we enjoyed watching all of them immensely. It was very difficult not to help them, but advice isn't allowed, so we kept quiet, except to help them find their balls.
Britt is so funny! If you know him at all, then you know this to be true. I was looking around to see where he was and found him in the twigs, searching for balls. He found one, which you can see him tossing in the air in the picture below. He occupied himself by finding stray balls as we made our way around the course. Lucky for him, he found quite a few!
Brady was the professional flag tender, once again. Brailey's putting was amazing in this tournament!
A nice hit! Can you find the ball below? It is near the line at the top of the picture.
Brady and Britt helped the girls find their balls.
Brailey started out great guns! But then she lost her mojo for a few holes, and she was feeling a bit frustrated. However, she kept her composure and had a strong finish. We are seriously proud of her!
She is a chipping machine! She loves chipping and pitching more than anything and has always been good at it, even as a beginner. You can see the ball in this picture, headed right for the hole. It was a great shot!
Our wonderful neighbor, Bryan, came to watch her play in the tournament. He has given her a few lessons and it was great for him to see her play. He is going to help all of us with our game over the summer, but right now his focus is on Brailey. He has been extremely helpful to her and is very excited about her game (he said she is a natural!). He knew exactly what she was doing wrong on her rough shots, and they worked on fixing some things over the weekend on Sunday and got her swing all fixed. It is super fun to have someone be so excited and helpful to our family. He played golf professionally and knows every detail there is to know about the game. We are more grateful than words can say for his help!
And then we had basketball on Saturday! Britt had his best game ever on this day, and was the highest scoring player on the team and even better, he met one of his personal goals by getting an "and one!" He was so thrilled! His team played incredibly well and it was great for Brady to get to see. We went straight from Britt's game to mass, where he served as an altar boy. It was a busy Saturday, but a great one.
I have taken to telling Britt, "Happy boys are the prettiest!" I also tell him, "Happy boys are the best basketball players." I'm glad he is listening to me. (Haha!) He is very humble and knows he has a lot of work to do to catch up to where he needs to be. It hasn't been an easy year for him, and there have been some personal struggles along the way, but things are finally turning around. I am glad his perseverance is paying off. As a parent, it is heartwarming to see a little success for him knowing how hard he has worked.
This was his "and one" moment (below). He was over the moon he made this free throw! He actually made 100% of his shots during this game and only missed one free throw. Not bad!
But the next day, Sunday, he didn't shine as brightly as he did the day before. He was playing a different position, and it is a tougher one for him to play. But he still had a lot of great contributions to the team. His shots weren't falling like they did the day before, but that's just the way things go, sometimes. He is getting tougher and working hard to make smart decisions, which is really what it is all about at this age - making smart decisions. He has been so afraid to make mistakes, which is a hinder to playing. Everyone makes mistakes, even the best players in the world. So we've been telling him to not worry about "messing up" and to just play. Eventually, things will come together for him.
They played two games on Sunday, the first against other 7th graders, which they won, and the next one against 8th graders. The second game was a tough one, and they barely lost. We were all very proud of them! Brady overheard them saying they were going to "squash" our team - that certainly didn't happen. And our boys were tired from playing back-to-back and also missing two players, so they did really well, all things considered. We are excited for many more basketball games to come. Lucky for us, Britt has a lot of them!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Britt's Best Games Ever

Brady and Brailey went to Yakima for the PBR there on Saturday. They played some golf and had a big time, which was great. But for every yin there's a yang, and unfortunately they had to miss Britt's basketball games. Britt came alive in this tournament and played the best he's ever played! It was amazing and seriously fun to watch. Finally, his hard work and perseverance is paying off. He still has a lot to learn, but it was truly special to see him gaining some confidence and playing so well. When he told me he wanted to try basketball last year, I begged him not to and tried to talk him out of it. I told him it would be hard to catch up to kids who have been playing since kindergarten, but he wanted to try it in spite of my negativity. I'm so glad he didn't weaken! I admire his brave spirit so much, and he is an inspiration to me. Everyone was bummed that Brady didn't get to see everything kind of come together for Britt in these games, but there will be many more to come. Basketball is Britt's thing, and as long as he keeps on working hard, he will continue to improve and ultimately succeed.
Look at that great "boxing out!" His sweet face with those big eyes is so precious to me. 
They won all three of their games and ultimately won the tournament! Champions! 
Britt's feet are always in pain, and he was happy to put them up on the couch for a while when we got home. He is so tough to continue playing and working hard in spite of his pain. He has had this pain since he was little. He was born with severely twisted tibias and extremely tight muscles, so they pull from his toe underneath his foot and all the way up his leg. This puts extra pressure on the bottom of his feet, which is painful. He has been stretching more these days, which will certainly help. On a positive note, the more he's had to sprint and run, the faster his running has become. Hopefully his feet won't hurt one day. In the meantime, we are so proud of him for his perseverance, courage and hard work. Go Britt! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Brailey's First JV Golf Tournament

Last Thursday was Brailey's first real golf tournament, and it was too much fun! It was a JV tournament held at Fiddler's, and not only did she look adorable in her Sheldon gear, she played really well and she had the biggest fan club on the golf course, following her from hole to hole. I was so lucky to get a picture of her with some of her teammates before the tournament. They all just happened to arrive at the same time, including her coach, so of course I took advantage of the situation.
Brady drove all the way from Ellensburg WA after his appointment in the morning, and he made it in time to pick Britt up from school and the two of them made it for her tee time. I had to pick up Brailey from school early, so it was great that Brady was able to get Britt. Luckily, she was in the fourth group, so we got to hang out with her for a little bit before she started playing.
And SURPRISE! Uncle Boone showed up! Brady has some stiff competition in Brailey's Golf Fan Club rankings. Uncle Boone is more excited about her playing than anyone! He was so much fun to be with and he was super proud of his niece. Brailey was able to golf with Uncle Boone and Brady the Thursday before, and he was so impressed with how well she is doing and how fast she is learning. He knew exactly where she hit every ball. He is a special uncle, for sure!
This girl with Brailey is the sweetest, nicest girl ever! She is a senior on the team, and from the moment we met her, she was friendly and kind. She gives Brailey rides every now and then from practice, and she came out to show support for her teammates before she went and practiced herself. We are very grateful for her friendship! Her dad is the Assistant Coach and a math teacher at Sheldon, and Brailey likes him, as well. And on a side note, she thought it was great that I was taking pictures. Booyah!
And there she goes! It was a great hit. Uncle Boone and her dad were very excited.
Below she is giving the thumb's up to Uncle Boone and Britt. 
Her gallery of supporters, minus me, the "paparazzi." 
I couldn't get enough pictures of these two. They were so fun to watch!
You can see Brailey in between Brady and Boone in both of these pictures.
She played with two really nice girls from Thurston. They told Brailey she had the sweetest family ever. Booyah again!
The weather was pretty cooperative, believe it or not. It was a bit chilly, but the wind died down when they started to play, and it only rained briefly. All things considered, Mother Nature was fairly decent.
Britt found a ton of stray balls lost due to the winter conditions. He and Brailey are looking at one of them below. He was a supportive brother, even though he was cold and his feet were killing him.
The last hole!
Uncle Boone had to get his rain hat out at the end. Brady was the flag tender for the girls and loved every second of doing that for them.
And here they are, walking in to the club house in the rain.
And here he is, the proud uncle! It was truly special to have him there with us and to see how much he loved watching her. We had a great time with him! 
Her coach made this great Leader Board. Brailey ended up 6th out of 16 girls - not bad for her first time! Her dad and uncle are incredibly excited about her golf game and we are all more proud than words can say. She has three more tournaments, and we are definitely looking forward to them. Golf is not an easy game to play, but it sure is fun!

April - Here and Gone in the Blink of an Eye

It seems crazy to think Easter Sunday was on April Fool's Day this year, but it totally was. We started our Easter at mass with our fa...