As of tonight, the summer is already one week gone. But what a fun week it has been!
We began the first week of summer with an early 15th birthday party for SonShine at Top Golf – it was a BLAST!!
I knew the boys (young, middle, and old alike) would enjoy a golf party filled with a high-tech driving range, micro-chipped golf balls for tracking shots and besting your loved ones (in our family EVERYTHING is a healthy competition!), continuous wait staff that never lets you go thirsty nor hungry, an extra TV for watching the Finals, and comfy couches for lounging when it is someone else’s turn on the hitting mat.
And they did love it! But what really impressed me was the way Angel Girl and our Sweet Sophie jumped right in and started swinging away – they were really, really good! I also loved how the rest of us “non-golfies” gave the mat a try but also relaxed, ate, listened to music, and had time to just sit and visit.
SonShine chose well, and we all had a fantastic night.
The very next day brought the family back together to celebrate Clara Belle’s high school graduation. We’ve all been preparing for the end-of-this-chapter-slash-beginning-of-the-next for several months with college visits, greek info weekends, lots of deliberating, big choices, senior pics, deep discussions, final exams, sighs of relief, and ultimately tremendous feelings of pride and joy and excitement for a job well done and an adventure just starting.
Suffice it to say that this girl is very special, very beautiful, very gifted, and very loved!!
Monday morning brought us a special house guest: our very own W. Each summer (and any other vacations we can steal him), W comes to stay with his crazy aunt and uncle (who are actually second cousins), SonShine, and Angel Girl. This kid is awesome!! He is so stinkin’ smart that he is bound to get himself into tons of trouble, but he’s so stinkin’ cute, too, that we sure don’t mind the mischief! When W stays, the house has lots of extra giggles, snickers, and full-out laughs, and we love having him around.
Wednesday evening delivered another welcome crew, but for a less-than-welcome reason. Uncle Tim drove the whole family into town for our nephew Lane to have major knee surgery Thursday morning. But we worked hard to keep nerves down and spirits up as we enjoyed spending time together, a huge Mexican dinner at home, and a dip in the pool for all the kids. Prayers were answered as the doctors found more damage than originally predicted but were able to cleanly repair everything so that Lane will be good to go again once rehab is done.
This first week of summer also brought our youth sports camps. This is when the entire coaching staff from both the junior high and high school put on a skills camp for all the aspiring young players, grades 1-9. Yes, you read right: a hundred or so kids of all ages who have been cooped up in school for over ten months, running around outside, in 98 degree humid heat, on the first Monday of summer. And these coaches have to not only herd this cattle, but try to teach them several new skills to boot!!
This was SonShine’s LAST youth football camp. If you’ve grown up in a small Texas town where the local high school sports are a community event and all the youngsters dream of playing on a Friday night, or if you’ve chosen to shackle yourself to a coach for the rest of your life, you can fully understand what a rite of passage Summer Fun Camp is for these kiddos. And only then can you really understand why these coaches do what they do: because THEY LOVE KIDS.
Every single day Coach MB met every child in the drop off line to welcome them and say good morning. Sometimes that meant a hand shake, and sometimes that meant a little fist bump. This week, that meant a needed hug for a few kids, and I saw his arms open without hesitation. That is a coach loving kids.
Every time I saw kids coming off the field or finishing a drill, I saw Coach RB put up a high five, encourage hustle, and speak words of support. After camp was over, he sought out SonShine to comment on his hard work in the weight room these past months. That is a coach loving kids.
When W got out of the car this morning sporting a very stylish, brand new, spikey mohawk, Coach KC noticed right off, mentioned how much he liked it, and ran a hand over the top to make W feel extra special. W couldn’t help but reply with a huge grin. That is a coach loving kids.
Coach TO found me at the end of camp to tell me how much he would miss SonShine at the junior high next year, he told me that there are those certain kids that touch your heart in a way that you can never forget them and that SonShine is one of those kids for him, and then he specifically asked Angel Girl her name, promising to look for her in the halls next year just in case she needed anything. That is a coach loving kids.
Angel Girl participated in the volleyball camp while the boys were in football all week. Everyone who knows Angel Girl knows that she’s a hugger…Coach KK never once shied away from her hugs, always found positive ways to praise my baby girl even though she is just starting out in this new sport and has a long way to go. But she and Coach MC never once indicated that she should not be at team tryouts the first week of school because they believe in her and told her that she can do anything she sets her heart to do with hard work and a coachable attitude. That is two coaches loving kids.
You see, despite the tough love and high expectations that people like to paint in a negative light, I know that coaches do what they do because they love kids. They love developing potential. They love teaching discipline and character and work ethic and sportsmanship. They love impacting lives because they love people. They love kids.
I count myself extra lucky to live a life surrounded by these amazing individuals. Individuals who give up their own summer to stick around for the kids. Individuals who miss graduations and birthdays and surgeries to be there for the kids. Individuals who put all their livelihood and hopes and dreams into the hands of the kids because they see their potential, and they believe in the kids even before the kids are successful stars or believe in themselves. Individuals who do what they do because they love the kids. Individuals who choose to coach.