Posts Tagged ‘sports’

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Disappointment, for a Fifteen Year Old

October 7, 2011

My poor daughter has had an avalanche of bad news.

1)  No call back for the musical.  After all of her prep, hours of practice, a financial contribution by me, and her feelings that the audition went very well, hers was one of the very few names NOT on the call back list.  As I said before, she’s dealt with rejection at the higher competition of the high school, and she’s dealt with it with grace and dignity.  This time, however, in combination with nos. 2 and 3 below, she was in tears.

2)  As I may have said before, she is a huge fan of Team Star Kid, a fun & irreverent drama troupe comprised of college age kids (at least initially) who she discovered through their creation A Very Potter Musical.  They have also done other shows.  Ones that she knows I will never watch with her.

Well, a couple weeks ago, she found out that Team Star Kid was going to be going on tour.  From a fun little teaser that they put together, it was pretty clear that Boston was a possible city.  Her adoration for this group goes well beyond its most famous celebrity, Darren Criss, and may be equally as large for the young woman who plays Draco Malfoy in the show, Lauren Lopez.

Lemon was ecstatic.  I still support this fan craze fully, as I think these kids are pretty cool.  I’d be thrilled if Lemon did with her love of theater what they are doing with theirs.  Fun, witty, creative, entrepreneurial.  I think it’s amazing.

I was excited for her, and told her, sure, I’ll help her get tickets.

On Wednesday night – the same night that we were waiting for the call-back list with baited breath – she was refreshing her computer every 3 seconds to find out when the concert would be in Boston.

We went for a walk to check the call back list at 8 p.m. (she wanted to wait until morning, but had to give her crew team notice if she was going to miss practice)  The list wasn’t up, and we had reason to believe that it would not be posted until the morning. So we went back home.

She refreshed the screen again.

Boston on November 25th.  The Friday after Thanksgiving.

A few weeks ago, her father asked me if we could switch holidays this year … if the girls could go visit him over Thanksgiving instead of Christmas, so he would be free to go visit his babies (who are living in another country with his in laws for the year — yes, without their parents).  Lemon and Mouse both rolled their eyes and said, “Fine, whatever.”

They’re flying out on Thanksgiving morning and coming home the Monday after.

She’s missing the concert.

So upset.  Ranting and raving against her father, insisting she wasn’t going to go, insisting we switch it back! Or she just skip the visit! She can’t miss this concert!

Then – mid rant – she gets a text from her friend – “hey, the call back list is up, and N has a picture of it – she said I got a call back!”  So Lemon calls N and says “hey, did I get a call back?”

Nope.

The tears come down in full.  Which is rare.

I took her for another walk to the high school, just in case her friend missed her name.  She was so unhappy, “this is the worst day EVER, but these are BIG things!  Things that aren’t just today!  They affect EVERYTHING. Why do I never get into shows?  Why can’t I go to the concert?  I just want to be in a show, and to go to this concert.  But obviously, I just suck!” (She doesn’t suck.  Singing may not be her strong point anymore – even though she used to be strong enough to get several leads when she was younger. But she does not suck, and I certainly hope she bounces back.)

She really wasn’t on the list.

WD and I were in separate rooms while all this was going on.  We later found out that while I was looking at drive times to the other cities that Star Kid is visiting, he was checking airfare.  Neither seems feasible (duh).

Then:

3) She accidentally threw away her retainer (we found it); and

4) Her throat was feeling horrible, and she woke up the next morning with a horrid cold.  She went to school and was able to listen to all of her friends (SEVERAL of them) talk about their call backs and the parts they were called back for and yadda yadda yadda, while holding her swollen head and longing for her bed.  She skipped crew, and I gave her permission to make a giant vat of rice and sit in front of Veronica Mars all afternoon.  Today – she’s home from school.  She has no voice & says she feels worse than yesterday.

Poor kid.

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Sophomore Angst

September 11, 2011


Well, school’s on.

Last year, because of the trial I was involved in at work, I missed the first day of school.  It was Lemon’s first day of high school, Mouse’s first day of 7th grade, and my first day of trial.  I remember trying so hard to get out of work in time to be home for dinner, but that didn’t happen.  Then I thought “at least daylight, maybe I can be home in the daylight” – and it seemed like it was going to happen.

And then the train was experiencing severe delays.  And I cried.  Quite literally.  Standing underground in a giant heat-vat, I had tears.

This year, I had my vacation, and I took an extra day.  Why?  because, goddamnit, I was going to be there on the first day of school.

And I was.

Although … Lemon started the day after Mouse.  At our high school, they have all the freshman start one day, and they have the school to themselves, they have lunch provided by the Rotary Club, and they have a moment to feel the place out.  That was Lemon’s first day last year.  This year, she started school the next day.  So the new freshmen could have their momentary pause in the chaos that is the high school.

[Our school district is comprised of 8 neighborhood K-8 schools.  I think ours is the biggest, and there are approximately 65 kids per grade.  All 8 of these schools come together for high school, making up a class of right around 500 kids.  It’s a huge shift for the kids, to go from a class of 65 kids they’ve been in school with for nine years, to a class of 500.  Then throw in the other 3 classes of 500??? They need that day.]

Mouse’s first day … I woke up early with her, I made her french toast.  She took two bites and declared herself “full.”  (i.e., nervous).  Her friends rang the doorbell.  I tried to get a photo ….

(Fortunately, WD also had a camera, and took pictures while I made the uneaten french toast.  We have better.)

She didn’t come home after school, but was willing to text me about her teachers, her classes, who was in her classes, etc.  She seemed to have a good day.

While she was at school, Lemon got her braces off.  Then she went to talk to her guidance counselor and get her schedule.

Then came the stress.

At 3 p.m., she had to go to crew practice.

Crew.

Lemon had a great spring with crew.  She took to the coxswain position as if she were born for it.  It was a great confidence booster, a friend-maker, and fun.  So then when the option came along to do summer crew, she jumped on it.  Optional within the summer program was a trip to Canada.  Expensive, but seemed worth it.  She jumped on that, too.

She didn’t share with me while in Canada, but it’s come clear since then that it was a very stressful experience for her.  First of all, there was the fact that she was the only female coxswain.  But the only male coxswain was 18, and they had some U17 boats.  Lemon had to cox those, too.

(Yes, I do say “cox” a lot this year.  It’s kinda fun.)

The end result was a lot of stress.  This was the Canadian Royal Henley, so it was a very serious race.  There were weigh-ins every day, 5:30 a.m. report times, and practice going until 8:30 at night.  Since she’s been home, she’s referenced the stress level she experienced on multiple occasions.

In addition to the race-stress, it was also the most independent she’s ever had to be.  Trips to the ATM machine, the grocery store, cooking, cleaning, getting herself up for the weigh-ins without her mom to double/triple/quadruple check that she actually got OUT of the bed (instead of just sitting up and shouting I’M AWAKE! to then lie back down the second said mother walks out of the room).  I don’t think she’d point to those things as the cause of the stress, because they were coupled with a very early taste at dorm living, hanging out with a bunch of upper classmen until late in the night, and a sense of accomplishment after making fried rice for the group and being showered with compliments for her cooking talent.

But at the end of the day, she looks back on Canada as a Very Stressful Experience.  While we were on vacation, she did groan at one point about fall crew and said to me, ‘I think I’m associating “crew” with “Canada,” and I need to change my thinking, because it’s not the same thing.”

But in the meantime, it was time to sign up for fall crew (yes, they manage to monopolize the entire year ….)

“I want to do fall crew.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure.”

a day later

“Lemon, are you certain you want to do fall crew?”

“certain, without a doubt.”

after getting an email from the coach saying we must sign up ASAP and there are limited slots:

“MOM!  You have to sign me up for fall crew RIGHT NOW or I won’t get in!”

“So, Lemon, you’re SURE you want to do it?”

“yes!  Hurry up!  Sign me up!”

[and pay the corresponding $700]

So I did.

She missed the first week, and while her coach had previously said that was fine, he had said so before there were space limitations.  Because I wasn’t sure that it would now be a problem, I signed her up but didn’t pay, and I wrote him asking if her missing a week for vacation would mean she shouldn’t do the season.  He didn’t respond, but then she ended up on rosters.

We got home from vacation.

Lemon got her braces off.

Hung out with some friends.

Spoke with her guidance counselor.

Hung out with some more friends.

Then had to cut it short because … she had to go to crew.

I had offered to drive, since it was my last day off.  In the car, she was full of big sighs.

Me:  “What’s the matter?”

Lem:  “I’m just stressed.”

Me:  “Why?”

Lemon:  “Crew. I kind of wish I wasn’t doing it.”

The irritation that this came after I had asked for confirmation after confirmation that she was up for this didn’t come until later.

We talked a bit, while sitting in traffic, about what she would want to do with her time, instead of crew:  To have more time to get organized in her academics.

In my mind – we hadn’t yet paid the hefty price tag for the third-party (not school-based in the fall) sports season; she hadn’t been there yet; there is another coxswain in the fall (unlike in the summer), so she wouldn’t be letting them down; 3 seasons is a bit excessive.  At the same time, this will be her team again in the spring (she completely plans to do the spring), and she cannot let them down and expect no repercussions.

So I told her to go to the practice and see how it goes.  Get a sense of the season, and how she feels after that.

I also had told her that if she is going to pull out of her extra curricular, she had to expect that WD and I would enforce her decision to spend extra time on her academics.  There is some amount of her (I am sure) that doesn’t want to do crew because she wants to spend time with friends in the afternoon.  WD thinks that’s a bad, bad, bad thing.  I do not.  I think that it’s fine, within reason.  I think a 15 yo 10th grader is not off base for wanting to be social.

I picked her up from crew 3 hours later (after fighting the most ridiculous traffic – it’s like Boston/Cambridge doesn’t understand the words “traffic pattern” or “stop light” and instead, the cars are like so much water flowing into a tiny little funnel – unbelievable).  I drove a friend home, so we couldn’t talk right away.

Once the friend got out of the car, Lemon told me that the season has been set up in such a way that 2 coxswains are required.  Probably because two coxswains signed up.  (Because after one of their mothers asked and asked and asked, one of the coxswains insisted that she wanted to be there.)

I told her that in those circumstances, she cannot pull out.  She has to do it.

She agreed, but was not happy.  Not at all.

The first day of school, she found “stressful” – she continued to pout and whine about crew.

The second day of school, she pouted.

The third day – she seemed okay.

I gave as much as help as I could, to boost her feelings of organization and capability while feeling like she has too much to do.  I packed her lunches this week (not the rule – they pack their own lunches).  I helped her to go through check lists of school and crew needs to be sure she caught everything.  But she is ready to take it back over now, going into the second week.

Of course, I’ll be here in case she needs more help.

I think she’s going to be okay.  Happy, even.

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Wait, was there a weekend in there somewhere?

June 28, 2011

The weekend is over, but I am not feeling rested – at all!

First of all, I ahve acknowledged in the past handful of years that I am no longer a kid.  I know that so many young people look to the end of the school/work week ready to GO!  To Play!  To Party!  I end the work week salivating for lounge wear, a glass of wine, and my couch.  If we have Friday night plans, I’m a wreck.  How will I stay awake?  How will I have energy?  I can barely stay awake through a movie, let alone through a party!

But this past Friday, I found myself removing the lounge wear and putting on a pair of jeans – at 7 p.m.  A friend (who, like 90% of my friends, is the mom of one of my kids’ friends) was coming by to drop off sleep over materials, and said, “what if we have a glass of wine? do you have time?”  I groaned a bit inside, but the truth is – I like my friend. I would like a glass of wine.  And so I put on jeans …

While I was waiting for her to come by, another friend texted, “what are you doing? you should drop off those things I need, and stay for a glass of wine!”

[and no — this story does not end with, “and then I was drunk.”

So I hung out at home with friend #1 until she had to go, then mosied over to the home of friend #2 and had a glass of wine and a nice chat there, and then – only then (10:30ish) – did I get home and put back on the lounge wear.

And it was very nice.  WD hung out with my friend & I for a bit at home, so I got to be with him, too, and Mouse came with me to my other friend’s house (and sat in the other room watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid with a handful of kids MUCH younger than her …) and it was all mellow and social, all at once.

Is there a way to purposefully create such a mellow, social time?  I should start a “lounge wear happy hour” at my house on Friday evenings.  No dressing up allowed …

Then Saturday and Sunday happened.  And I had no more happy Suzie social time.  It was all about carting kids, supervising kids, watching kids do sports, fighting with kids, and more.

Saturday, I took Lemon and a friend to the Taylor Swift concert.  It was held in a football stadium, 30 minutes from our house.  Or, rather, 30 miles.  Which is NOT 30 minutes when 50,000 people from various parts of New England are doing their very best to cram into the same football stadium.

We did this last year.  A friend and I took 4 girls – my 2 and a friend for each.  My friend and I had tickets that time, and we had a great, great time.  We were a little unprepared for the post-show chaos, though.  We got back to our car after the concert and got the kids buckled in and …. sat.  For over 2 hours.  We had gotten to the venue pretty much right at the start time, and so were pretty deep into fields-gone-parking-lots.  We didn’t know why we were sitting very, very still for hours on end, but we knew it was hard.  A car full of hyper girls, bouncing, jumping, yelling, singing, and us 1000% exhausted after a long day.

We got home at 2:30 a.m.

This time, I knew better.  Lemon’s friend’s mother and I actually were supposed to go together (we did NOT have tickets this time), and we even looked into getting a room in the hotel on the grounds.  That was silly – thinking we’d be able to get a room without a year’s notice.  It was booked.  So we were going to go and have dinner while the girls were in the concert.  But then she had a work-thing to do.  So I was on my own to figure it out.

And this is what I did:  We left the house at 2:30 for a 6 p.m. concert.  We chose a private lot 1 mile away from the venue.  I offered the girls to drop them off closer, and then go back and park, but they chose to walk with me (“a mile’s not that far!”).  I also offered to pick them up closer, in the parent pick-up lot.  My wise and mature 15 yo charges said, “that makes no sense, then we’re driving right back into the thick of the traffic.  Let’s just all walk back to the car, and that’s 1 mile of traffic we don’t have to deal with.”

We got to our parking spot at 3:30.  We were at the stadium (and its adjoining mall) by 4 p.m.  We shopped a little, and then got in line for a restaurant.  The wait was long, but we thought a sit-down meal would be a good way to kill time.  We had our burgers, nachos and salad, and then I took them to the gate of the concert.  Lemon texted me at one point, having trouble figuring out how to get to their seats, after they were in, and I was a little nervous.  A football stadium!  50,000 people!  2 little girls, all alone!  By the time I could draft my response, she was in her seat, sending me texts of her view.  “These are the best! seats! ever!”

And so I hopped across the mall and sat down for my 6:45 showing of Midnight in Paris!  Hooray!  And when I got out?

Taylor Swift had yet to take the stage.  Aw, geez.

We had selected our post-concert meeting place already – a cute little patch of grass we had rested on while waiting for our name to be called at the restaurant – and I settled there with my book.  But then I was cold.  So I wandered back to the mall, and found a fleece on a crazy “it’s summer, you doofus!” sale.  Then back to the grass, with the book.  Listening to Taylor Swift, remembering the year before, I was kind of wishing I had a ticket, after all.  Then I thought I was tired.  So I went to get myself some coffee.  Coming out of the Dunkin Donuts, the sky lit up.  Concert fireworks? Concert lighting?

No.  Lightning.

Then thunder.

Then nothing for a long time.

Then more thunder – louder than the concert (which is saying something).  Then a little more lightning.

Then WD texted to say “it’s pouring here, but looks like it’s not going to hit you” – then a drop of water hit my iPad (what, you think I meant a real book?  Pfft.)

I put the Precious away, and just sat to listen to Taylor, with an occasional drop of water.  Then it was more than occasional.

I went back to the mall, and sat under the awning of the Express.

For an hour and ten minutes.

People were streaming out of the concert with the first big thunder.  Lemon actually texted to say, “Mom, people are leaving and I don’t know why ….”  I responded that it could be to avoid traffic, or could be because of the thunder.  I didn’t have the patience to text and say, “all the people who are leaving are mothers with their five year olds, and I think they’re leaving because they realized they are insane to be dragging preschool aged children to a stadium concert!”  I mean, seriously?

I encouraged her to put on her hood and stay for as long as Taylor would play.

Which was a long time.  When the rain turned to monsoon-proportions, she apparently embraced it, resulting in thunderous applause and whoops and hollars.  She didn’t stop playing for another hour – and didn’t skimp on the encores.

The rain stopped as we walked our mile back to the car.  We walked not only past stopped cars, but we also passed several hundreds of slow-walking people.  A traffic jam of foot traffic? Who would have thought?

Concert ended at 11; I had the girls with me by 11:10; we were at our car (thanks to the slow-walkers) by 11:40.  We did, in fact, walk past the worse of the traffic snarls, and got onto the road with little to no delay.  When traffic did get backed up, I saw a sign that said, “use of breakdown lane is permitted!” but no one was using the breakdown lane.  Perhaps because, like me a year ago, they thought it was always illegal and bad and sneaky to drive in the breakdown lane.  But Massachusetts disagrees.  Why waste perfectly good pavement in the face of a traffic jam? So I drove in the breakdown lane … past the rest of the traffic!

I had dropped off Lemon’s friend, gotten Lemon home and in her bed (as if that takes much for a 15 yo), and was in my own bed by 12:30.  Take that, 2:30 a.m.!!

And it’s a good thing.

Because on Sunday at 5:30, my alarm was going off so I could wake Lemon and drag her out of bed for a regatta.

Ahh, the joys of summer crew.

WD and I picked up the rest of our carpool, dropped them off at their trailer (in a town 30 miles in the opposite direction of where we’d been the night before) so they could build their boats, and found ourselves a quiet secluded place in the parking lot, where we set our iPhones, reclined our seats, and went back to sleep! Only for an hour.  We had to get up, get coffee, and go watch the race.

Eventually, we found ourselves at home, getting the kids ready for this week’s first week of summer day camp (a creative arts camp).  I got into the bed at a reasonable time on Sunday, which is always hard because I usually sleep in.  Not this time.  Which meant I was able to get up at 5:30 on Monday and go for a run.

And with that, I knew the weekend was over, despite my lack of rest.