Ten years ago, I never would have imagined the scenes that have been playing out over the past two years. My boys were 12 and 14 years old and they hardly interacted… at least not voluntarily… it was as if they had nothing in common. D was in the band and becoming more involved every week, school was “boring”, and he seemed happier playing video games than going outside to play with ‘the three dimensional people’. E was starting to play lacrosse (after four years of Association football) and totally rocking the sport, loved being challenged with anything academic, and would bring home friends at the drop of a hat. They were friendly with each other, but I don’t know that either would have said that they’d go out of their way to spend more time together. They loved sports and had that in common, but didn’t seem to enjoy one another very much… and they certainly didn’t look for opportunities where they’d spend more time together. While they didn’t fight, they also didn’t seem to be “friends”… which was our original hope when they were young.
Something started to change when they were both in High School. D went to our “home” high school, immersed himself in “all things band” (marching, concert, orchestra, pep, stage, and jazz bands), challenged himself academically when absolutely necessary, and did what he needed to do to get into college. E chose to challenge himself immediately by selecting one of the more difficult (imho) HS opportunities (he chose the Math/Science HS in our county), he tried out for (and MADE) a select lacrosse travel program, and pushed himself academically so he’d be able to have his pick when it came to colleges. Still… they had their love of sports in common, which proved to be the bond that has drawn them ever closer.
D saw how much lacrosse meant to E… and E saw how much band meant to D. I’m no psychology major, but I believe that they both started to recognize the same drive in one another… the passion that made their activities so special to them. While they might have blown off things in the past, they were starting to join us to support one another… it was a great thing to see.
I’m not saying that they became one another’s biggest supporters overnight, but I do believe that they have each learned valuable lessons from the choices made by the other.
When D went away to college, he chose to be a Varsity Athlete (in lacrosse) and then was selected to be a Resident Advisor for three of his four undergrad years. He dealt with a horrendous coaching situation with more grace than I could possibly muster. He selected a major that ended up being a mistake but followed through, got his degree, and is now working toward a Masters in Athletic Training. He’s been assigned to some amazing programs within his Masters program and will be working at USNA this coming fall… to say we are proud of him would be an understatement. He is creating a life in which he can work and be happy, which is the one thing for which every parent prays. He’s becoming a man upon whom others rely… he’s becoming his father… which is such a blessing to see.
When E went away to college, he chose a school (6-hours away) that wanted him for his lacrosse skills as well as his academic abilities. He was initially happy to be one of the “smarter” guys on campus, but he quickly realized that he needed to change his educational direction if he was going to ultimately be successful. He transferred to a school closer to home and started working on creating that work/life balance by focusing on his academic career while creating his own athletic challenges. He worked to get accepted into a demanding program and then worked harder to stand out in a sea of qualified applicants to accept an offer for a job after college. E’s happily taken on roles within his athletic life that have given him consistently greater responsibilities and allowed him to recognize how he wants to live after graduation. He too, is becoming a man upon others rely… just like his older brother… and just like his father. How could I feel anything other than blessed?
My darling husband would argue that *we* are each other’s greatest blessings but, after M, I really must insist that my two greatest blessings are my boys, D and E. Before you delete this post and chalk my message as a simple brag on what a great job M/I did as parents, let me say that I am definitely *not* bragging… I am absolutely astounded at the incredible men we have raised and wanted to share that with you on this post. They haven’t been “brainwashed” into being each other’s biggest supporters, but they’ve become that on their own. This past weekend, D drove a round-trip of five+ hours to see his brother play in a two-hour lacrosse game… because it was important to be there to support E. I can only imagine how E will return the favor when he has graduated from college and has a car of his own.
I started this blog as a way to give credence to the many blessings of my life. I recognize that not everything in my life is seen by others as a blessing, but looking at the young adults pictured here, I cannot help but be reminded of every single reason I have for all the good in the world.