“YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY, MOM” – today, I will be doing something very different. My rowing BFF and I will be rowing in a Regatta in Springfield, Mass. While that is a first, in and of itself, what makes it different is that I will be missing my older son’s football scrimmage for Don Bosco Prep, where he is on the Freshman Football Team.
I have never missed an athletic or artistic event for either of my children, unless it was to attend the other’s child’s event. Christian started playing rec soccer when he was 6. Michael started rowing when he was 8. I have made it to everything: soccer, crew, basketball, football, Irish step dancing recitals, band recitals, piano recitals, Drama Club productions, you name it. And Hubby has made it to most of them as well.
Originally, Christian had Saturday, September 6th free. The originally scheduled game had been canceled. Then, Big Coach told me and my Rowing BFF he wanted to take us up to a “fun and friendly stakes race” in Springfield, Mass to meet the Programs Director and race in our therapeutic double (that’s what we have nicknamed “our” crew shell). This was his treat, to pay us back for all the countless hours of volunteer work we had put in. We decided to take our kids with us, to help out rigging and carrying the crew shells. Two of my BFF’s kids and one of her rowing kids are all experienced rowers. You don’t just throw a boat on the back of a trailer and go. Someone has to get out the tools and derig the boats, get them on the trailer, and strap them down; then when you get to the regatta, you need to lift the boats off, get out the tools, rig the boats and get them to the water. When it’s all over, guess how you get the boats back on the trailer? That’s right, you have to de-rig. Then there’s the oars and keeping track of the gear. It’s nice to have young people to help out what that kind of thing.
Originally, Christian, the one who started the whole LoBiondo Rowing Craze, was going to use his bye week to come up and help me with my boat. Then, we got the email that a Scrimmage had been scheduled for this Saturday against Montclair High School.
((CENSORED))!, I said to myself. “Wow, I was really looking forward to that Regatta,” I told Christian. “Let me call Big Coach and tell him I have to cancel.”
“You’re not canceling, Mom,” said my older son. “I won’t let you cancel because of me. I know you’re really working hard for this and you really want it. And isn’t that what you’re always telling us? To set goals then work towards them?”
Jeez, I thought to myself, I didn’t think they were actually listening to me, I guess they were.
“It’s all right, son,” I said, “Just the fact that you want me to go to Springfield is enough.”
“No,” he said. “It’s not enough. You do everything for us, and for a lot of other kids.” See, the thing is, I knew that he understood something most people don’t.
The Joy of Rowing is ageless. In those moments where your boat is in unison, moments where you are on the water early enough to watch the sun rise, moments where every muscle in your body is firing to both set and power the boat – in those moments nothing else matters. When you are on the water, burying your blades, blasting off and pulling your blades through the water – in that perfect stroke, those perfect moments -- there is a feeling of Power, a feeling of Peace, and a feeling of Freedom, all at the same time. No matter how old you are, all rowers are out there trying to catch that “perfect stroke feeling” again and again.
I looked at my son and, although he wasn’t articulating it, I knew from the look in his eyes that he understood all this. He understood it as a competitive athlete; and as a rower himself.
“I don’t want you to live through me,” he said simply. “You deserve to be happy.”
Think about it, moms and dads. Our kids want us to be happy. Isn’t that a kick in the can! Let’s face it, happy parents are well adjusted parents. Happy parents are more likely to say: don’t sweat the small stuff.
And so I am taking one of my rowing kids, Kelvin, to Springfield with us, to help rig, carry the boat, and just generally provide moral support. And Anthony, my hubby, will be cheering wildly and taking photos at Christian’s football scrimmage. And by Saturday night, we will all be sitting around the dinner table, carbing up, sharing our stories from the day, and weaving together the tapestry that is our Family.
Have a great day, everyone and, as always, remember to Count Your Blessings! <3 Mrs. Lo ~~ GO IRONMEN! www.LoBiondoPage.Blogspot.com (Photo of Mrs. Lo and Mrs. Mills in the Therapeutic Double at sunrise, photo by Coach Jackilyn Naparano)