On this day last year, I was in the hospital waiting for the doctor to let us know how much damage my dad's heart attack had caused and if the stent procedure was successful.
This entire last week, a year ago, was really one of the most stressful weeks I've had in a number of years. It obviously ended with my dad's heart attack - and the whole idea of returning to the scene where I got that fateful phone call notifying me of it, well, I've had a bit of trepidation about it all.
So, needless to say, I took what I learned (not to do) last year and tried to do whatever I could to make today much more successful. Today is the annual "Pop Warner" Jamboree where literally over 10,000 people converge at Thurston High School to watch their youth football players compete in mini-scrimmages. Last year was a nightmare. I brought the dog (definitely shouldn't have), brought Michele and all of the kids (not really necessary as it is a LONG day and expensive, and not very entertaining), didn't know where to go or park, and didn't bring anything to eat or drink (which you were told not to, even though all of the concessions are crammed with people and not necessarily the only thing you want to have available to eat for 6+ hours. Of course, the icing on the cake was spending so much time and effort in this endeavor last year only to watch Brayden spend most of his time on the sidelines.....
With all that in mind, today was a 180 degree change from a year ago. I left everyone at home with Michele so I could really focus on Brayden, I knew exactly where I was going (and my map of the fields was the envy of everyone), I had nutritious snacks to keep me mindful of the weight loss aspirations on the horizon.... And, finally, I watched my son SHINE. He shined because he was playing, because coaches believed in him, because he believed he was worthy of his position - and because he did well...... A couple of significant tackles, a fumble recovery, and an interception.....more action in one day than he saw in the entire season on last year's team - in games AND practices. John surprised us by showing up for the final game of the Jamboree (able to get back from Men's Round-Up just in time). The first defensive play of the game, Brayden, in his position of cornerback, made the interception - just in time for John to catch it with his camera.
So, today was a total success. I now look forward to the rest of his football games (in contrast to feeling very frustrated last year) - and more than anything else, delight in the new found confidence exhibited by my son - all because he was given the chance - and somebody believed in him.