Jimmy Dugan: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying! THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!
Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own
Oh, how I wish I knew how and where to begin this. Over the past seven (wow, seven, really??!?) months, I have sat down on multiple occasions to try to pound out something or other on the computer to add to my blog (and if you are now envisioning the monkeys with the bone in the movie 2001, or Derek Zoolander pounding on the computer to get the files in Zoolander, then that’s about right), but nothing seems to feel complete. Sure there are plenty of times I read something that sets me off, and I start jumping up on my soap-box, only to say “whoa, whoa, easy now. No need to show everyone out there your truly crazy side.” I wish I had the dedication to post with decent regularity, like Jim who writes “Just a Lil Blog” about his autistic daughter, (Great site, definitely worth the read) but I don’t. Not sure why. I have a ton of excuses, but no real answers. So for now I hope you enjoy (and I hope I know where to begin).
I have a strong sentimental side. I am not ashamed to admit it. Even though my mom was tougher than most Navy Seals, and I had no sisters, I wasn't raised in one of those houses where you weren't allowed to cry. Now, that’s not to say that I am weepy. I was able to hold it together when I read my mother’s eulogy, remain stoic when my daughter went in for a 2-hour surgery when she was 5, and remain laser focused when the doctor handed us CJ’s diagnosis. But watching Terms of Endearment or A Walk to Remember always makes me misty.
Why do I share this, you ask? Because the times that I get the most emotional is when I watch my kids succeed. The most recent example of this came a week ago Friday, when my son crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.
A little back-story first: In first grade, CJ decided to join Cub Scouts. Not sure why. I was never a Cub/Boy Scout, and never gave much thought to the matter. When asked if I was one in my youth, I would to joke that no, but I used beat up a lot of boy scouts as a kid. The closest I ever came was the court-ordered year I spent in Y-Indian Guides, YMCA’s answer to the Boy Scouts. But, I digress. 2010, First Grade, CJ jumps in with both feet, into the Cub Scout world. Well, not both feet, maybe one. Well, OK maybe just a big toe. But, HE decides. The wife and I, we have had nothing to do with the decision, and I mean zero. And because of that, we were always very supportive of whatever he wanted to do with Scouts. You want to go to a three day Twilight Camp that falls during your birthday? Sure! You want to go camping in a tent in the mountains with your troop, even though the weatherman forecasts snow and 80 mile-an-hour winds? You bet! (And yes, the weatherman was right on both counts.) I have to work late, so you want your mom to come to the meeting and teach all of your friends to build a trebuchet? Absolutely.
That’s not to say that everything went as smooth as silk, because that would be a lie. He almost quit at the end of his first year, and there were plenty of meeting nights that he begrudgingly went, and even a few that he missed. Not to mention CJ’s lack of tolerance for the kids that didn’t take the meetings seriously. On many nights during the drive home, I would get an earful, as CJ would repeat over and over about how this boy was running around the classroom during the whole meeting, or how that boy wouldn't stop talking. But my biggest struggle was CJ’s seemingly complete lack of engagement at the meetings. Often I would sit in the back, feeling frustrated by him not participating or even appearing to almost fall asleep.
But Last Friday was the big day. The “graduation” day from Cub to Boy Scouts. A large ceremony was held, with dinner and a show, and at the end, the boys crossed over a bridge where a member of their new Boy Scout troop greeted them and presented them with a new neckerchief. And that is where I lost it. Well, sort of lost it. Let’s just say that my eyes started leaking. As I stood there watching, I reflected back on the previous 4.5 years, and all of the progress that he made, challenges he overcame, and lessons he learned.
Yes, I cried. And I am OK with that. For me, there is no greater reason for me to shed some tears then for the pride of both of my kids. I am constantly amazed at how far my son has come, and how much he continues to grow. And I am also always in a state of happy shock at my daughter, who is constantly stepping up to help out either her parents or her brother, all the while tackling her own life and issues.
|(after the ceremony, on the bridge. If CJ looks a bit off, it's because he is about to break down himself)|
So, next time you see me crying, instead of looking away, please feel free to offer me a tissue.