River in the back, Isaiah in the front, and our friend's son, Zach. Isaiah fought a fever, and a bug all day.
River in between his many matches. You can see that he his sweaty, and he has a "shiner" from a previous match. The boys have had more black eyes, this year, than I care to mention....lol.
Isaiah, waiting for the go ahead from the referee to get in position on the mat.
River dominating one of his opponents.
You hope that you can make all the right decisions in your children's lives. You know you won't, but you hope to have as much wisdom as you can possibly muster. Trying to figure out what each child needs and wants, and to strike some sense of balance is a bigger challenge all the time, especially as they get older and older.
So going to this tournament this weekend was one of those milestones. You send them on their way, ahead of you, all the while it leaves you with all the hopes and fears that all parents endure. I hope that they are feeling okay, that they will do great, and that all their hardwork and dedication pays off for them. You fear that if they fail that they will feel like it was all for not, you fear that you may not have the words to fill that void, you fear for all the little things that only a parent can express.
When we pulled up to the high school parking lot, we scanned for a good parking spot. My heart began to race to see how many vehicles had positioned themselves earlier than us. You hope you are there in time to encourage the boys, and let them know that you are somewhere amongst the crowd.
With our arms full of young hands, chubby diapered bottoms, and diaper bags you hurriedly race inside. Once inside the corridor you dodge your head around the crowd to see if you recognize team colors, or better yet your two strapping boys that you know are as nervous as you are. Den pays for the crew, and we continue on through the shoulder to shoulder of people.
Once in the gymnasium, the large wrestling mats dominate the floor, and tossled all over them are boys, boys, and more boys practicing their takedowns and near falls. Luckily, close to the edge are the two young men that we have been longing to see. We make sure that they are both well enough to wrestle, that they made weight, and have been fed. They quickly assure us that all is well. We point to the stands of parents and family that have all come to cheer their boys on, and try to designate an area where they can find us in the crowd.
After sitting next to all our dear friends, that have traveled so far, we scan the program for the brackets to see how the boys faired. Pretty soon, we hear the boys' name called out over the speaker, and the meet begins for us. You can see the tension across their young faces, and you holler their names over the crowd, wanting them to know that all of our eyes, hearts, and voices are with them. With each match that their arm is raised in victory we stand in excitement, clapping our hands, and exclaiming job well done!
With each match that they are sweaty, and they have to shake the opponents hand that defeated them, we are proud to see them have great sportsmanship. That is one thing we LOVE to see. A solid pat on the back to the other guy, that worked equally as hard to get where they are that day.
At the end of the day, when the emotions have been screaming high, and the disappointment has bottomed you out, you wonder if this was a milestone that they will always remember. Was it all that they hoped it would be? Do they know how proud we are of them? Will they EVER know how much we truly love them?
Den and I hop in the suburban and we secretly talk about how thankful WE are for being able to participate in these boys' lives in such a meaningful way. For even though they are ours, they really are just ours to borrow for a limited time before they are out on their own, trying to make memories for their own children.
River was only one match away from going to State as an alternate. He did great, and won more matches than he lost.
Isaiah is going to State as an alternate, one match away from actually placing. There may have been some partiality with the ref, but nothing in life is a coincidence. So we take the good and bad, and have confidence that it all works out for the best. Thanks to Rusty and Mary for always showing their amazing support, and another thanks for all your prayers. The boys were much better by the time the tournament began. What a blessing!