Saturday, June 8, 2013

Winning & Losing

I headed out to the Little League fields today to watch Spencer and Sam - who both had 3:00 games - play a little baseball.  It was a playoff game for Sam and the championship game for Spencer, and they were playing on neighboring fields.  

Ann Parke, her mom, her dad and I went back and forth and back and forth between the games and tried not to miss anything from either of them, but that's hard to do when there's so much going on.

Spencer has always been one of the more coordinated kids I have ever known, and every sport he has tried he has just 'gotten'.  He's a natural born athlete.  He's at the age in baseball where these kids have really figured it out and grasp the intellectual parts of the game as well as the physical, and they really love it.

There was quite a crowd and sadly, the game got away from them and they ended up losing.  At this age, when kids lose a game like this they don't flip out and throw fits like younger kids might...instead they are heartbroken.  Sweet Spencer was crushed.  He's got one heck of a big heart and every ounce of it was out on that field at the end of the game.  He was beside himself.  I was so glad I had my sunglasses on so my own tears wouldn't be on display.  I know that all kids need to lose sometimes and learn to be graceful about it (which they SO were), but it just plain hurt to watch.  This team is a team full of GREAT kids and they were just so, so sad.  But in the end, they all took it like champs.  

Meanwhile, Sam's game went a little bit longer, so we were able to catch the end of it.  They ended up winning (yay!) and I'm not sure that at first any of the kids realized it, so their reaction when they did was just adorable.  Sam went flying out onto the field in a batting helmet that ended up going sideways in his excitement.  I'm not so sure he could see where he was going, but he was pumped.

When he came out of the dugout after, he headed over to us and lifted his eyebrows to Spencer as he was walking towards us, asking "Did y'all win?" without saying a word.  Spencer quietly shook his head no, and Sam, who was close enough to talk now, said, "Oh, well that's okay."  So precious.  Of course I teared up again. :)

Oh, I just love these boys.  So much.  I can't imagine how their mom feels, because I feel like even I have blinked and they have gotten so big.  I'm so very fortunate that I've gotten to watch them grow up so far, and I can't wait to keep going...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Oh Y'all, the Tears...

It goes without saying that I love kids.  That's a little like saying that fish love water and that my daddy loves football...things that are so obvious that it seems ridiculous to even have to say them...

A good while back, I happened to see a quick status update on Facebook from my friend Liz, who is a friend from high school.  She is a speech specialist at a school in Washington, in a town right on the edge of Seattle.  She mentioned that her low income school could really benefit from some extra, unused "Box Tops for Education" if anyone had any.

I didn't think much of it, but then a couple of days later I noticed that the new cases of paper we were getting at work had a Box Top on the wrapper of each ream.  The mortgage business uses just a LITTLE (that's definite sarcasm) bit of paper, so I started clipping the Box Tops off of each wrapper.  Every now and then, when I had collected a decent amount, I'd stick a stamp on an envelope and send it on out to Liz.

Come to think of it, I think I only sent envelopes out there twice-maybe three times.  And in the grand scheme, I know that what I sent really probably didn't amount to a whole lot.  (Ironically, today of all days, I was at Whitaker for lunch and the folks in the front office were sorting through MOUNDS of Box Tops.  They were everywhere.  Serious business.)

I was happy to collect these for the kids in Washington, thinking maybe a tiny little bit might help, but after I sent them I was always on to the next thing and honestly didn't give it much of a second thought.

Until today.

I got home from work and there was a manila envelope shoved in my mail slot that didn't make it all the way through and onto the floor with everything else.  I couldn't get my door open all of the way because the envelope was pinned between the door and the wall.  When I pulled it loose, I found this inside...

A Thank You, no, a Thank You POSTER (seriously it's huge, it will take up a wall in my office when I hang it tomorrow) from Mrs. Hernandez's 3rd grade class in Federal Way, Washington.  I sat in the floor and cried.  I read all of their little names and messages and smiled at their spelling mistakes and bubble letters.

I love kids.  I'd move Heaven and Earth to make every kid on this planet feel special if I could.  I wish I could send a million dollars to those kids in Washington to help their school.  But to think that maybe, just maybe, they felt a little special because someone so far away took two seconds to do something for them - enough to warrant a written thank you - knocked the wind out of me a little.  I don't know a single one of these kids.  It goes to show that the tiniest gestures can mean something.  Even ones that you honestly hardly remember doing.  And I don't at all say this to toot my own horn, but just to show that something that doesn't seem like a big deal to you might be a really big deal on the other side.  I just encourage you to do things that don't take much time and don't cost anything, but can still make a big impact.

I understand that if Mrs. Hernandez's class wins the Box Top contest at school, they get a pizza party.  And a class pizza party in third grade is just about like winning the Powerball would be for an adult.  So if you see me in the cereal aisle at Harris Teeter over the weekend with a pair of scissors demolishing all of the boxes of Cheerios I can find for that little stamp on the top, please just kindly look the other way. :)