As I scrolled through Facebook this past week, I discovered a new (new to me anyway) celebration: National Daughters Day. I don’t have daughters, bud I “liked” the posts my friends put up extolling the beauty, brains, and virtue of their daughters. It’s fun for parents to brag on and celebrate their children, and I enjoy reading how my friends love their children. Love begets love.
I’d closed that tiny portal in my brain when I closed my web browser, but then this: Not to be outdone by their XX-chromosomal counterparts, National Sons Day, according to Facebook posts, arrived a day or two later. Is this really a thing? Google’s top hit revealed something different.
Once, behaving like the petulant pre-teen I was, I had asked my mom when “KIDS” day was, seeing as she got Mother’s Day. I recall a distinct tone as she responded that “every damn day is kids’ day,” and being no dummy, I shut my sassy mouth. But now there’s actually a daughter and sons day?? It does not compute. At this point, I find myself mostly bowing out of social media, in a corner, waving a little white kerchief in surrender.
I’d intended to write today about my husband’s return to work. Yes, you read that correctly: My husband was sent back to work last week. Four months after nearly bleeding out on a city street, doctors determined him to be in physical form strong enough to return to work. However vehemently opposed I am to this series of what-the-actual-F medical decisions matters not. Off he went. I’ll save this for another blog post.
Today I’m going to write not about my husband’s terrible accident and miracle recovery, and not about my number one son’s muscular dystrophy, but about my number two son.
My little one (“Little,” HA!! He’s thirteen and stands 6′ 1″) is the nicest boy you’ll meet. He’s a quiet child. He’s hilarious, but you might not know that about him because he doesn’t seek the spotlight. He’s a deep thinker with a deep voice you don’t hear often enough. He isn’t a crack-up laughing kind of kid, but when he lets loose, his laughter is the most joyful of music to my ears. He’s thoughtful, writing me birthday messages expressing how proud he is to be my son. He’s kind, always lining up at the end to let everyone else get in line for the first crack at whatever is up for grabs. He’s the kid who’ll rub your shoulder when he passes by or lean in to hug you just because.
He had to give a speech in English Language Arts class about a person he valued as an effective leader. He chose to write and speak about his math teacher, who also happens to be his flag football and basketball coach. I was surprised initially and just a touch hurt that he did not select his father, given what his dad has overcome in 2019, but the presentation wasn’t about love so much as leadership and inspiration he said. What’s that about still waters running deep? I did not get to hear his speech–I asked! And try as I might have (I may have visited his room more often than usual while he studied his notes in rehearsal), I didn’t actually find out which qualities he ascribed to his teacher/coach.
My kid has a natural athletic build, works his butt off, and swear to the stars, he is almost two feet taller than many other kids his age, but he doesn’t have a killer instinct–it’s just not in his makeup. I’ve said it before about him, and it’s likely going to hold true: what makes him a terrific human being will likely prevent him from being a next-level athlete. And that’s OK. Not that some elite athletes aren’t also nice humans, but it takes a certain intangible to become that athlete.
Sometimes all a kid needs is someone to believe in him, or for that kid to believe that someone believes in him. And right now I believe that his teacher/coach is that person for my younger son. Sure, my kid’s size is a gift–you can’t coach height, they say–but size doesn’t magically equal ability or confidence as we learned in baseball. Baseball season was a total loss. With my husband’s accident, hospitalization, and rehab, neither of us was present to support our boy like had always been the case prior. I was a damn dumpster fire of a mess, my husband was incapacitated and/or rehabbing hard to recover what the accident had stolen from him, and my poor kid. . . he floundered. Floundered would be generous, actually. And when it was clear that those around him had lost faith in him, he lost faith in himself.
But this coach believes in him, and if he doesn’t, my kid believes that he does anyway. Between the sidelines, my baby is a go-to guy, and as much as he says baseball is his favorite sport, he’s better suited for football. How I love watching their games! Yesterday morning he scored two offensive touchdowns, and for him, the holy grail of football accomplishments–the pick-six (an interception run back for a touchdown). He probably snagged 7-8 flags (tackles in flag football) too. But you’ll never hear him talk about it to anyone else. It’s just not in his nature, but clearly it IS in mine to brag about him a bit.
If National Sons Day is a thing and not just a Facebook posting prompt, I’d proudly overshare what I love about this kid (well, both of them, but today, just the “little” one). But then I have this little blog, where unlike Facebook, I can write on and on and on. And on. . . There’s more to life than sports, there’s also good citizenship, take this for example–
Think back to your formative years. Who believed in you, who had your back? Was it a family member? A coach, a friend, a teacher? It’s really something, the feeling you get when someone believes in you. Like love, belief begets belief.
No joke. Take action. For the kid or friend or relative or neighbor who needs to know someone has their back–be the one. Be their believer. Maybe someone will write a speech about you. Maybe they won’t, but you can rest happily knowing you’ve made a difference, which is a king’s ransom of a reward in itself.