2014 18/02

Heads or tails: “Olympic”-size moments

The other night Tim and I were watching the P&G special celebrating the moms of a few of our Olympic athletes. Really, it should have celebrated the entire family, but whatever. The point is that I am always blown away at the commitment and sacrifice parents are willing to make when it comes to the passion of their children.

Moving across the country. Potentially separating the family for an extended time. Hours and hours of practice or rehearsals or games/meets/plays/auditions. And all the costs? It’s really amazing. The things these families have given up all for a few years and a “fingers crossed she does well” hope. The hard choices they’ve had to make. That single pivotal decision they had to make

And that got me thinking about my mom.

I can’t imagine that my mom, at any given point in my growing up, thought I was going to be a prodigy at anything. I was not an athlete (although I still argue that cheerleading is a sport). I was towards the top of my class in school but I’m not disillusioned to think that I was anything more than average in the grand scheme of academics. I could draw just enough but am not an artist. I will belt my favorite songs but cannot carry a tune. Music? I cannot read sheet music. And I will occupy the dance floor at any party but there was no Juliard in my future.

I was (and am) average in pretty much every realm.

And yet, my mom knew things I did not.

When I called her 2/3rds through my freshmen year of college and told her I wanted to transfer for the next year, she said “Ok, we’ll go look at the other college.” And we did. Well, almost. The night before my meeting at the ‘other’ college, I told her I just didn’t know what to do. So she said we should flip a coin. Heads I would stay. Tails I would transfer. I never actually saw her flip the coin, but she announced, “Heads it is! Looks like we’ll be going shopping instead of seeing a college tomorrow.” And that was it. We shopped and I finished out my four years, happily, at the same college.

Here’s what my mom knew — She knew I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 3+ years. She knew I was homesick being hundreds of miles away from my family. She knew I really didn’t want to transfer. She didn’t have to leave my future up to the fate of a flipped coin. She didn’t leave my future up to that coin. She knew what was best and sacrificed so I could have what was best for me.

I may not have gone on to win a gold medal but that was our Olympic moment.

Now, I am under no illusion that we will be an Olympic family. Unless Rainbow looming becomes an Olympic sport. Then I have a contender. But, if that does happen, can we agree not to let Russia host the Olympics again? I mean, if Bob Costas can get double pink eye staying in his “A” rated hotel, just imagine what will happen to little ol’ me in my “D” rated hotel!

Rainbow looming and toxic Russian water aside, each day I’m wondering, is this our Olympic moment?

Will what I decide today determine the course of my child’s life forever?

Yes and no. We have little Olympic moments every day. And some day we’ll have some big ones. And when those big ones come along, we’ll do our best to decide what we think is or will be best for our kids. Just like my mom did when she put that unflipped coin back in her pocket and announced, “Heads it is!”

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