Today was a day that made this mother proud. May I brag a moment?
Joel played in his last soccer game of the season this morning. It was probably his best game yet. He assisted on the first goal and scored the second. He played the entire game and demonstrated how much he has learned this season. He has progressed from a player who was a little lost on the field and clearly surpassed in technique by his more experienced teammates into a fine soccer player who is a tough, tenacious presence on the field. Whether his team is ahead or behind, he never quits. He plays hard and makes things happen. He doesn't have the most finesse, doesn't dribble as well as others, and still has lots to learn about defending, but he has done well. He smiles and says thank you so humbly to the other parents who offer congratulatory remarks after the game. Even to his mom who pours out praise, he replies simply and quietly, "Thanks."
What makes me so happy is not how well he has played, but how hard he has worked and how tough he has shown himself to be, joining the team not knowing any of the boys and making a place for himself by his hard work and team play. If I were a coach, he's the kind of kid I'd want on my team.
Humor me a little more, please...
Tonight I went for the second time to see the musical, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." The director told a story before the show about one of the cast members who was skeptical about doing a musical. He didn't have much confidence in himself as a singer and just wasn't sure he wanted to do it. He asked for a small part so she gave it to him - she gave Matthew the part of Schroeder. Yes, he was the skeptic - not too sure of himself and especially of his singing ability. But he did a fabulous job, learning in the process how very much he likes to sing and gaining confidence as he worked overtime learning his part. All of the cast members were clearly having a blast as they sang, danced, and acted. After thunderous applause they returned to the stage for an encore rendition of the title song. I don't know when I've seen Matthew smile so big!
Now again, the reason this is so special is not because of how well he did, but because of how hard he worked, how much he learned and grew, and how much joy he had in doing it. Like Joel on the soccer team, Matthew joined the Studio Theater class not knowing anyone and never having done musical theater. Over the course of several months he developed skills he didn't know he had and he made some new friends, too. It was fun to watch the cast hugging each other after the applause finally died down. At the moment, they are celebrating together...as they should!
And I am celebrating - quietly, in my heart tonight - for the accomplishments of sons who are willing to try, willing to work, willing to learn and unwilling to quit. I am thankful for coaches and directors who inspire, teach, and encourage. For teammates and cast members who work hard, spur each other on, and laugh together.
I feel like a very blessed mother tonight - grateful, indeed, for the gifts God has given in these boys, growing quickly into manhood. And I haven't even begun to muse about the other three sons and the precious daughter and son-in-law. Thank you, Lord God, for the privilege of being the mother of these children. Surely, my cup overflows!