If you are looking for some kind of budget coach babble or college athletics insight, today’s blog is not for you. Stop reading and please check back next week when I will resume my inside view of college athletic business. However, if you would like to indulge me, I will give you a little glimpse into my life and what makes me tick.
I am the mother of two sons. The first was born in 1984 and passed away on May 14, 1988. Tommy is the first “Act” I describe in the title. The second “Act” began when my second son was born in 1990. Two and one half excruciatingly long years after the death of his brother. I have been a mother in two acts with a 2 ½ year intermission.
In 1990 when Anthony was born I was still in the middle of a long grieving process. I used to watch him sleep and wait for him to have a seizure like his brother. That never happened. I cried for years at Christmas when we took a family picture for our annual Christmas card knowing that all four of us would never be in one picture together.
What I did make peace with eventually was that I am the luckiest person on earth to be chosen to raise two extraordinary children. When I was pregnant with Anthony I prayed for ordinary. All the right parts in all the right places…Please God let him be healthy…and he was.
We watched his brother struggle with health issues his entire short life. Anthony almost sensed this even as a young child and has displayed real courage and character whenever he has had challenges. When he was cut from the swim team his freshman year in high school after being an all-star in elementary school he visited the coach the day the list was posted. He asked the coach what he could do to make the team next year. About a week later he set out on a course to lose 10 pounds and start working out. He ended up losing 35 pounds, grew two inches and swam regularly with his club. He made the team the next year and was selected a captain his senior year.
When he searched for a college he did it without the intention to swim. I am proud to say he earned Presidential scholarships at three schools and attends Fairfield University on a full academic scholarship. The greatest surprise is that he decided to walk-on to the team and continues to improve his times.
The hardest thing for me has been letting him do what he needs to do. Having one child die can cause difficulty when raising another. It can be tempting to put him in a bubble and protect him in case something bad is going to happen. It is hard to see him fall and fail but I know if he is going to learn how to succeed and thrive he needs to skin his knees and bruise his ego.
I am also lucky that my own incredible mother is still with me. I spent the day with her today and know that each Mother’s Day is special and unique.
Motherhood has also taught me I am much stronger than I ever imagined I could be. I take no credit for surviving the death of a child but I will accept some for picking myself up and trying again, just like my extraordinary second “Act” son Anthony who has made his mother proud at every turn.
Life is good!