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.

adventure

Just Wanna Have Fun

We are in year 10 or 11 of my daughter playing lacrosse. From the little kid beginner leagues to top-tier national tournaments in front of college scouts, she has competed at nearly every level. Many of our summers have been organized around lacrosse travel. It has taken us from the New York to Colorado and many states in between. We have had joy and laughter and lots of learning. Extended car trips have given us loads of time to connect.

She is a great lacrosse player. She may not score a ton of goals, but she excels at her position which often helps set her team up for success. She is a leader.

At some point in the last year, she decided that playing competitive lacrosse in college was probably not her path. She has had opportunities and offers, but never really followed through on them. She likes to play a lot of different sports and doesn’t want to eat, breathe, and live lacrosse in college.

It has taken me time to get my own ego out of the way and listen to what she is telling me. She highlighted this revelation in her college essay. Stepping back from all-lacrosse-all-the-time has helped her appreciate both lacrosse and other parts of life like travel and other sports she enjoys. Stepping back doesn’t make her any less of an athlete. It just means she knows what she wants and the life of a division-level athlete isn’t it. She has her heart set on our amazing state school, and we are waiting to hear if she gets in. In the mean time, we both know this may be her last go around with lacrosse, and as a senior it is definitely a farewell year with many of the girls who have shared her path along the way.

One of her wishes for this fall was to play a couple of “fun” tournaments with her friends. They are all amazing athletes and naturally want to win, but for this, winning wasn’t really the main goal. They didn’t really want to practice. They wanted silly outfits and giggles. They wanted to coach themselves. They just wanted to pick up and play the sport they love. So my job became to make that dream happen.

Weeks of planning. Most of these girls have played together at the same school across a number of years, but a few extras helped round out the roster…a couple of freshmen who were looking for a team, a friend who had moved to another district. After the roster, we started on the details….a cheeky, punny team name: “Halloweeners.” Goofy custom tie-dye shirts with unlikely numbers on the back (how does the ref call 911? 8008? Infinity? Pi?) Silly socks. Then the girls added funny face paint and onesies / costumes / tutus and we were the merriest band of misfits taking the field that Saturday. Even the refs smiled at our names and could see how much fun they were having.

I got to be the adult on the sideline, but I wouldn’t know how to coach them really. They took care of all that. They laughed, they complimented each other, they pointed out things to work on. They fought like hell during the games and laughed like hell during the breaks. It was pretty awesome to witness the level of positivity these girls shared with one another. They trusted each other and gave their best. Every single girl had moments of brilliance. After four wins they lost to a respectable team playing high level lacrosse in semi-finals. No one hung their heads. They had a great day.

As we got in the car to head home, I asked my daughter if she had gotten her wish? She said yes. It was fun. It was friends. It was laughter and low-pressure. Since she knows she is not committing to college lacrosse, this is her time and her group to enjoy the sport she loves.

Teddie Bear Adventures

That Feeling

The pit in your stomach. 

The nauseous feeling that is churning.

My heart is aching as well. The accident that caused the turmoil. The unknown. The cries. The sad eyes. The stillness.

My little baby had an accident. My little Bear. My puppy. She was under my feet. Playing like a puppy as a canister slipped from the pantry shelf above my head. I couldn’t catch it. It smashed the floor and the little dainty puppy’s paw. Tiny little girl didn’t stand a chance to dodge what would be a missile in her eyes coming at her full speed.

Oh my heart sank as she yelped. An ungodly sound like I had never heard before. How did such a little baby make such a loud scream? She was in agony. I never experienced anything like this. My stomach had a super big pain in it. The I’m going throw up now but I have to hold it. I have to be strong for her. I have to get her help.

I practiced my deep breathing. I woke the world up. The vet wasn’t open yet. Waiting 30 minutes seemed like a lifetime for them to open. I made it to the vet for an emergency appointment. I waited as the tech unlocked the building. They knew a crazy momma was there. They took my baby for X-rays. I had to wait yet again. 15 minutes for the results. 

That pit in my tummy was raging. My mind was dancing. My heart was aching. What horrible person lets such an accident happen? That would be me. I am 100% responsible yet I can’t absorb the pain for her. This is devastating. An experience I don’t wish on my worst enemy.

As I wait, I write. I’m choosing writing therapy to help calm my mind. To help share my pain and heart with others. A painful part of life but a real life encounter. Her blanket is clinched in my arms as I wait. As I write on my tablet. Sitting alone in a desolate room. The longer it takes the worse I think the outcome will be. Oh how I want to snuggle her during this difficult time. 

She is so loved, but does she know it? Deep breathing ensues. The vet comes back.  Nothing is broken. Hallelujah. A bone bruise. She will be sore but the doctor assured me she will be fine in a few days. Off we go with some anti inflammatory medicine to ease the suffering.

This momma sighs in relief to a point, but wishes she could start the day over to eliminate this mess all together. Snuggle your pets and loved ones. Circumstances can change in an instant. Look at these worn out eyes. She has nap time written all over her cute face.

Goodbye for now. I do plan to document her recovery at some point. Watch for a later post.