Being a mother inevitably means sacrifice.
As I sat across the restaurant table watching my sons select their meals, I felt proud. They had been away at a long-distance running camp at the request of their coach. What made this request different was that they are middle school seniors who will be on the varsity team running with high school students. Their talent was spotted early. The purpose of the camp was not only to teach them skills to improve their running time and endurance, but to also bond as a team. They left home as typical, loud middle school students and returned home as mature young men.
As we waited for our food to arrive, they shared their wonderful stories. They saw white squirrels, ran up and down hills and mountains, stood under waterfalls and swam in rivers. They had to literally wait for clouds to move from mountains in order to see and run. They participated in school traditions, had “share” meetings where they were allowed to discuss meaningful experiences and given the freedom to cry as young men in front of each other. One teammate said that his biological family was messed up, but the team was his true family.
The camp was expensive, especially when you’re paying for two kids. Our sons have two parents and one of them didn’t want them to go to the camp because of cost. The drama was nearly insane. When I looked at them sitting across the table, I knew I had made the right decision and fought hard not to burst into tears. In order to pay for that camp, I had to work like a madwoman and dealt with impossible deadlines. In meeting these deadlines I lost a friend, who had come to town for a social event, but unfortunately I didn’t see her. She had mentioned coming in passing but never confirmed. Under normal circumstances, I would have reached out to her but the distractions of the maddening deadlines got in the way. My friend was insulted and our friendship ended abruptly.
My sons look at me a little differently now. There’s a little more reverence in their voice and admiration in their eyes yet the loss of my friend still haunts me. Such are the tragedies of life.