adventure, family

My Photo Reel – AL Edition

Sweet. Sassy. Sporty. Special. Sisterly. Silly. Spontaneous. Sneaky. Smart. Strong.

The S words above describe some of the photos I see on my reel of A/L. The silver lining of their relationship is captured in the many adventures they shared over the years. The photo reel speaks 1,000 words about their bond and adventures together. Two amazing souls brought together by a sport. The game of lacrosse. A game I coached for many years. The girls who I coached for season after season. Two of my favs.

I have watched them grow. I watched them shed tears. I watched them glow up. I watched them conquer fears. I watched them lean on each other. I watched them team up in other sports and dabble in outdoor activities whether it be water skiing or snowboarding. It’s been a blast for me. I watched them have so much fun on and off the field. Sometimes miles separated them. Sometimes age groups separated them. Sometimes schools separated them. Sometimes teams separated them. No matter what they found their way back to each other. Time and time again the duo reunited without skipping a beat. It might also happen their moms are friends too.

Mountains of memories. From grade school to middle school. Then on to high school. Through a pandemic. From cross country trips to out of the country travel. They developed a thick bond. Now it’s time for college for one. New experiences on the horizon. They will have another shift of time and distance. It’s my hope that their bond will endure the shift of time, the distance, and barriers of life but only time will tell. So far they have been constant for each other but may have periods of drifting. As one leaves the sport does that mean the bond breaks or takes a sabbatical?

My photo reel is real. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. My reel captures life memories and experiences over time with special people. This post is dedicated to my two girls who have grown up in many ways together. Enjoy the glimpse of the duo. I know I will.

As the holiday season is upon us I know my gift this year is recognizing the special bond these two have and how much joy it’s been to watch them shine together. Whether their relationship changes tomorrow or not they have so much to be thankful for in each other. 

Sports can provide a team but also a sisterhood. Many may not understand the value of the team experience if they never played sports. Leaders rise in sports. Camaraderie is fostered in sports. Lessons are learned in sports. Win or lose is temporary on a scoreboard. The scoreboard of life show the winners who emerge from sports and conquer their life dreams, fears and so on.

Hopefully my photo reel shows the power of a sport and how much one can gain from a team or even one person on a team. Maybe this duo will continue to grow in the years ahead and create their own photo reel of new memories from college to adulthood.
This holiday season the duo was able to add two more states to their travel book. Nevada and Arizona. Many photo ops. Many adventures. Plane rides. Car rides. Dirt trails. A sweet way to wrap up 2021. I heard giggles. I saw smiles. I heard snide comments. I saw a sisterly love. A bond brought together by a shared team experience and sports connection built over time. Adventures with your partner in crime are always good.

No mountain too high for these girls to climb. No adventure they can’t conquer together. No substitute for their relationship. A new age band is ahead for them to traverse but hopefully they will find a way to make an annual trip together in the years to come.

Cherished memories celebrated herein as we roll into the 2022 lacrosse season which will officially be the last time these two knuckleheads play their main sport together with their peers. Tears will come but so will the smiles.

adventure, family, fitness and nutrition

Blue With a Hint of White

I see an abundance of blue. A sea of Carolina Blue near and far. Maybe some white but far more blue. University of North Carolina blue. That soft powdery-colored blue that is easily recognizable as the UNC symbolic color. Nestled deep in the heart of Tar Heel territory on the UNC campus, it’s hard to miss the waves of blue everywhere.

I am here for an event which involves the wearing of the university colors and uniforms. Trying to find a needle in a haystack is a good reference for finding my kid in the sea of blue jerseys. My child is one of of 400-500 immersed in an elite field experience for the sport of lacrosse, which she loves. Last college event was big but not this big.

Hundreds of highly skilled athletes looking to standout while improving their individual and teaming skills on such a big stage. Such an experience to live through as both an athlete and a spectator.

My lens is clearly the spectator but obviously I couldn’t be more proud of my athlete. Spending hours on the field for days with new faces and personalities. Determining if a college athlete life is for her or not. Learning how to adapt and overcome while avoiding injury as well. Training on and off the field. Fueling the body for competition. Resting the mind amidst finals and semester-end deadlines. Challenging herself to be a better version of her. It’s all relative. It’s a process. It takes dedication, determination and a bit of badassery.

I’m a copilot of sorts. The errand girl. The roadie. The fan girl. It’s still a hard job. Navigating maps, finding fields, lugging gear, packing sustainable food for energy, being prepared for any weather, traveling to unknown places, finding accommodations and so much more. I’m in the muck of it all. I’ll wipe tears if they are shed. I’ll pull out the bandaids when needed. I will snap the all the photos allowed to capture the memories as well. I even deal with the nasty attitude when fatigue sets in and nobody is watching but me. No shame in my game/role.

It’s also funny to wade through the cemetery of bags, sticks, jackets, coats, sweats and so on. Where else could you experience the awkward smell of stinky feet and body odor in the cool crisp air? These are the memories I will cherish no matter how gross they sound in my writings.

Our crazy schedule is not for the weak at heart. We spend many days on the road. We spend time away from family and friends. We wake up early. We get into bed late. We battle rain, snow, wind, cold and heat. All to chase a dream. Her dream at the moment. A dream many may not ever achieve and many may never attempt. This is our journey or path right now. Our time together. Wherever she ends up she will know I supported her dream.

As I wrap up this post I take a deep sigh. Reflecting on how grateful I am to be able to take this walk with her. To support her. To praise her efforts. It’s a one of a kind opportunity for both of us. I share this post to provide a glimpse to others who may not have the opportunity to see this lens of life. 

Fourteen states she has played competitive lacrosse in. The sport of lacrosse has allowed her to meet people and see new places while mastering her performance as a woman in sports. I’m not sure how many more states will be visited as she narrows down her college wish list. 

family

First Fall Trip

it was an early rise day trip. 80 degrees was the high but it wasn’t 55 yet early in the morning. I opted for layers this day. Had the snacks and drinks packed and ready the night before. Off we went.

We caught a before sunrise glimpse in the distance off the glistening water of Lake Hartwell in South Carolina. Not really planned but much enjoyed beauty. It was a mostly quiet ride in the car being as it was early in the morning and nobody had coffee.
I planned for a long bike ride around the campus of Clemson University to kill time however my bike had other plans for me. My air pump didn’t work and my rear tire just wasn’t feeling like it had enough air to lift my load on this day. A let down of sorts but off to do other things I suppose.

A little fitness adventure course caught my eye on campus. I gave that a go for a little bit. I wasn’t great at anything but I gave this new piece of equipment a try in its various fitness activities. From the monkey bars to pull-up bars to ab workout. It was all interesting, compact and free for anyone who wanted to give it a go. I thought that was pretty cool.

After that mini sweat session I strolled around a bit. Watched some games going on. There was plenty of orange color everywhere. Circled into town. Grabbed some souvenirs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much orange in one place before even at a pumpkin patch. It was interesting to say the least.

Had a nice lunch in town. Checked out the sights. Saw some graffiti art. I stopped at a cute bagel shop and I ordered the Mr. T. Who could resist a turkey and cheese bagel sandwich named after the one and only Mr. T from the A-team. What a flash back to childhood.

Today represents the first of many road trips as I enter the college touring circuit with my youngest. Mixed emotions but definitely looking forward to the travel adventures to see what her future journey may look like. Many new roads ahead. Making the memories that will be cherished for years to come. Capturing and documenting every bit of story along the way.

Sometimes my readers will have a front seat with me. Other times I may just enjoy the solo ride. Either way this one one of many first for us as a duo. The road to college is interesting.

family

Growing Up

My babies are growing up. Some faster than others. My little baby Bear that I picked up weighing just 4.5 pounds is now weighing in at 35 solid pounds. She is full of so much love though. Furry, cuddly, and sweet. That’s how I would describe this little pup. At just a hair over 5 months old, I can surely say she has been a great addition to my family.

My caboose of a kid is ch-cha-changing. Finding her way to adulthood. From learning to drive to scoping out colleges. She is on the move to bigger and better things. Some days I see her more. Some days I see her less. Some days she’s nice. Some days she is a bear of sorts. No matter her mood or her busy life, I keep finding ways to support her in her journey. Some days I cheer. Some days I guide. Most days I listen. Growing up is different for every family member.

My little Teddie girl. My sweet but sassy golden doodle has matured so much this year. From teaching her sister the ropes inside the house and outside to being that tiny little watch dog with a ferocious bark. She tilts her head when you talk to her. She listens. She knows where her leash is. She know what it means when you say outside. She knows when it treat time. She knows when to sit patiently to wait for a reward. She has led by example for the new pup. She had such a grow up year yet she didn’t physically grow at all. 

The first born. Educated. Experienced. Determined. On his way to top of whatever mountain he wants to climb. Chipping away at his goals. Setting his bar higher and higher. Looking for travel to experience new places and faces. Encouraging his siblings. Giving his time to others. Such a great time to watch one grow and become a self-sufficient adult.

Just a little in between. The space before adulthood. The space after high school. The place where you find yourself. That’s where my middle cherub is. In the middle of deciding: 

Where to go

When to go

Who to take with

What to do

Why all these decisions 

When teens know it all and their brain isn’t fully developed, one can linger in the in between stage. It’s truly young adult trials and tribulations. It could be the changing of your major 20x in college. It could be moving apartments over and over again. It could be the revolving door of dating. It could be laziness. It could be any combination thereof. This is not my favorite season of growing up for many reasons.

In the end a mom is always cheering on her babies. From the first poop on a potty to the first sleep through the night for your four or two legged crew. I’m sure my mom has watched me grow up, glow up, fall down, pick myself up, and so much more. In the end I know she has enjoyed the journey as do I.  As I grow I know my life has provided me much. Each baby gave me new meaning in life. New memories. New adventures. New stress. New attitude. Stay grateful. Thanksgiving is around the corner. Celebrate the ones you live near and far. No matter what stage they are in. Life is fragile.

change, family

Beth and Liz

My full name, Elizabeth, can morph into many nicknames.

I began as Beth. That was my family name, my toddler name. My first name.

My parents loved to tell the story of going to first grade curriculum night. We had moved and changed schools. It was a few weeks into the school year and my parents went to meet the teacher. She asked my parents who their child was. My parents said “Beth.” My teacher said she didn’t have a Beth in her class. They put two and two together and figured out I was now Elizabeth.

Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t correct her. Was I not confident in that time of great change? Or was I ready to be someone new? Who knows what went through my 6 year old mind. But from then on, through elementary school up to 7th grade, I was Elizabeth.

Elizabeth followed me as I moved to Catholic school. But somewhere along the line, I started going by Liz to my friends. Again, I can’t be sure what my 13-year-old self was thinking. I’m pretty sure I thought Liz was cooler than Elizabeth. Honestly, who knows? But I knew the transformation was official when they started putting “Liz” on my report cards. I remember being surprised, but I went with it. Liz followed me through high school, college, and up into my twenties. Liz was a drum major and kind of emo in high school. Liz wore tights and steel-toed patent leather boots on non-uniform days. In college, Liz started drinking and smoking. Liz was a moody philosophy major. My Dad said Liz walked around with a little black could over her head.

After college, Liz was later a kindergarten teacher by day, a waitress / bartender by night. Liz walked 60 miles over three days to raise money for cancer research. Liz lost 100 pounds. Liz supported her parents through her Dad’s cancer fight. Liz met the man who would become her husband and the toddlers who would become her kids.

At age 29, I walked down the aisle and along with adding a new last name, I decided I would now go by Beth again. I just didn’t feel like a Liz anymore. Silly to some, I am sure, but my parents had never stopped calling me Beth, so maybe that’s why it felt like settling in to who I really am / was / would be.

In the nearly 20 years since I became Beth again, I’ve still continued to evolve. Beth is the mother of 3 now-adultish kids. Beth earned her PhD. Beth has gained 140 pounds, had a kid and lost 150. Beth quit smoking and drinking. Beth completed a half marathon and a triathlon. Beth has written books and owns a farm.

After a life with so many stages, there are people who call me by all different names. I have Elizabeth as my facebook profile since that seems to capture everything.

My father-in-law still calls me Liz most of the time. At a recent family celebration, he was passing the bottle of red wine around the table. When he got to me, he said “Liz, would you like some wine?” and for some reason I just thought, Liz would have, but Beth doesn’t do that anymore. Later that week, the conversation came up at work about going home to have a drink after a long day. The same thought occurred to me. Liz would have cracked open a drink right away. Beth is going to write or go for a walk or do something to make her feel accomplished. I just told my colleagues that I don’t drink but I’ll think of a good way to unwind. They stared with no response, then moved on from that topic.

Some will say that Liz was more fun than Beth. Maybe they are right. I guess it depends on what you think fun really means. Liz was definitely a whole lot more interested in pleasing others. Making other people comfortable. Liz also sought ways to escape herself, her thoughts, her confusion. Over time, Beth has become settled in swimming against the tide and approving of herself. Beth carries along her Dad’s encouragement to be smart, to stand out, to celebrate herself, and even to rail against gender stereotypes about what girls can do and be good at.

Beth feels settled in her skin more often that not, and that is something to celebrate no matter what you call her.