March 2, 2022

heaviness, fluff: a thank you that choked me up, a great team experience

So much heaviness. I have nothing eloquent to write about the horrors in the Ukraine. So unreal and sad. My heart also hurts for Violet's family. She passed away on Saturday. While she's no longer in pain, I cannot imagine how difficult losing her is for her family. Sadly, my 50 year old cousin in Texas is in hospice, her life has been incredibly difficult. My uncle, who also has cancer, is watching her die. He lost his wife a few years ago. Their son died at age 14. He has no other family besides my dad and us. 

I stared out the window at one point while waiting in the car for Mini during her interview and thought:  while I'm doing 'this exciting thing' other people are experiencing true struggles. The unfairness of it all feels impossible. I'm praying for those who are suffering. The rest of my post is lighthearted even though I'm feeling a tad low. 


While it seems like Mini might get the scholarship (which is amazing), we've heard that Notre Dame might not be possible (not enough funds left at this point perhaps?) When asked, she told them that she feels strongly about her top choice (ND). The other 5 kids in her group all said, they weren't all that tied to one college over another. We're almost half way thru the 2 week waiting period till she finds out, and yet - IT'S ALL MANAGABLE AND GOOD. 


I just started a load of laundry . . . I promise this post will get more interesting. It is not all sadness and laundry. 

Mini has a pile of laundry that has been outside of her room for so long that I no longer know if it is clean or dirty, so I decided to just wash it. I am CONFIDENT that it's clean. Once clothes have been kicked around and no longer folded though, they just look like they need to be washed. 

I, for one, am tired of my upstairs hallway, which is a very small space, resembling the floor at a department store at an after Christmas sale.

Mini finished up her basketball season Feb. 14th with a playoff game. The other team was winning by about 30 or 40 points, and yet they CONTINUED to use a full court press. What were they trying to prove? I felt this was bad sportsmanship. 

Back on February 4th when her team played their last home game, they honored the seniors. Each senior walked out with her parents and an underclassman read something prepared, like the senior's favorite memory, etc. 

It was a nice evening, but this was our first time with a female athlete at a presentation like this. So, we messed up . . . Mini  was probably the only one who didn't have flowers, balloons, etc. from her parents. Being Mini, she didn't really care, but of course she made some snarky comments to highlight our cluelessness. She joked with her teammates about us - thankfully/ obviously, we have thick skin. We are perfectly comfortable being the butt of the joke. 

When we lined up, I asked her if she wanted the three of us to Irish dance across the court when her name was called. Um, NO. Now, come on. That would've been hilarious, right? Coach and I holding hands with Mini, while she was in the middle. Technically Coach can't Irish dance, but he can fake it. I didn't actually expect that she'd be on board with that, but I love to test her. How daring are ya, sista?

Anyway, when we got to where the coach and assistant coach were, we shook hands with them, they handed me a flower, and we said thanks. That's when it happened. 

The assistant coach, a young woman who Mini REALLY likes, said to me:  


Well, that just wasn't fair. How was I expected to stay composed after that? That this woman enjoyed Mini so much, that she thanked me for giving birth to her. I mean, I gathered that this woman was a fan of Mini's based on how they tended to sit next to one another when Mini was on the bench - Mini made her laugh a ton. But this - well, it hit me in the throat.  Right where that lump might form when one might be about to cry. Dang it. 

After we posed for photos, we sat in the stands and watched the girls do their warmups. They played a rap song that has Mini's full name in it. And I got all teared up watching them. (I know, I know, you all get teary-eyed when you hear rap music.) That's not how we roll (getting teary-eyed that is, we aren't opposed to warm ups, Coach is a PT after all, warm up you must) - we were doing just fine, keeping everything light and fluffy, LOOK AT MY PARENTS, THEY SUCK  - NO FLOWERS. (insert Mini's buddies cackling). And HEY, LET'S IRISH DANCE OUR WAY ACROSS THE GYM FLOOR FOR KICKS. (insert kid's eye roll here)

I goofed and didn't shorten the video - if you listen/watch to the first 11 seconds you'll hear it. Or, song is Bandit by Juice world (spelling). If you know, you know. Towards the end of the clip, Mini is messing with her hair. She'd thrown it up quickly at the start of warmups, since she'd forgotten a hair tie and ran over to a freshman player and asked her to give her the hair band from her own ponytail. And the girl obliged. I must assume my kid said please.

This group of girls:  literally a bunch of misfits. The team is very small (numbers wise). They're quirky and different as night and day from one another. Amazing academics vs doesn't really attend school regularly, germ-a-phob vs careless and sloppy, in with the cool kids vs not in with the cool kids, brown nose vs let's see how much trouble I can get into, etc.

They're so tight, so accepting of one another, and so funny that they just enjoyed the heck out of being on a team together. I mean, we won't mention there was a bit of a talent deficiency. 

They actually got in trouble on the bus to away games for laughing too much. The coach accused them of not being serious/ready for the game, because they joked around too much. Um, hey coach - that's not why they are losing, see the 'lack of talent' mention above. At the pasta party, Mini and company described some of the silliness that they get into/some of their favorite moments as a team. 

A senior on the boys' team was confused. He told them (looking around at his teammates who were all on their phones in the basement):  WAIT, WE DON'T DO ANYTHING THAT FUN. 

When Mini described this to me, it reminded me of a movie. Maybe I'm making it up:  a scene when a dad grabbed his son and tried to goof off with him in order to copy another dad/son combo who were messing around in their natural state, and the son looked at him like HUH?  NOT OUR STYLE. 

Anyway, Mini's basketball career is a wrap. It was a fun ride, full of memories. It provided her with friends who she otherwise would NEVER have known, not likely have crossed paths with/ hung out with.

Laundry issues aside, her assistant coach is grateful I gave birth to her. How amazing that other people see how great she is? 

Did I make up the movie scene? Or can you help me identify it? 


Kari said...

I'm sorry there is so much sadness in your world. I also hate what's going on in Ukraine. It's just so heartbreaking.

Ernie said...

Kari - There has been a lot of loss lately. And lots of fun times too. So many things are hard to wrap my brain around.

Kara said...

I appreciate the levity, in an all too dark world right now.

This sounds similar to our soccer team this year. My first senior night as well. I also didn't bring balloons or flowers, but I did bring cupcakes (store bought, about 15 minutes before the game) for the team. Since my youngest was also on the team, she was the one who reluctantly introduced us and her sister, as we walked onto the field. It was nice. We also got destroyed, though my oldest daughter did score a goal- an own-goal, but whatever. It just brought the game to a mercy rule end that much faster.

Ally Bean said...

I'm sorry about your cousin and uncle. What a thing to have happen. I agree, there's an unfairness to it. I am pleased to read about the coach's comment to you. So nice when you receive an unexpected sincere compliment. That seems like a fair thing.

Jenny in WV said...

So sorry to hear about little Violet.

I never played sports so I didn't realize seniors were supposed to get flowers. Irish dancing across the floor would have been memorable.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I'm so very sorry to hear about Violet's passing. She was so young.
And my heart breaks for your Uncle. So much loss. Prayers for your cousin in her transition and your Uncle afterwards; it seems so unfair.
But life is like that, right? One day you're in all the joy, while others are in pain. The roles do reverse, so it's ok to enjoy all the good stuff when we have it.

Yay for Mini. Senior night is a big deal. Hey, I didn't remember to bring flowers to most of Lindsay's dance recitals. I think I did on a senior night though. I've never heard that song before, but I can see why it's perfect for her and the team.
You gave birth to a legend!!

Not sure about the movie scene. It's not ringing any bells for me.

Ernie said...

Kara - I love that the two sisters got to play on the same team. Curly attended basketball camp and got to play with Mini there, because the coach invited her. That was fun. Curly is bummed Mini won't be at the school with her next year, but some of the same girls will be on the basketball team with Maeve as the coach has told her she'll be on varsity.

Well, the goal sounds memorable.

Ernie said...

Ally - Thanks, yes. It is so very sad. They have had more than their share of sad. The way the she thanked me for having Mini was very sincere. It was really sweet. I mean, I'm crazy about my kids, but one can't expect the rest of the world to find them all that fabulous.

Ernie said...

Jenny - Yes, it is so sad. Even knowing it was coming. She only lived for 4 months after the diagnosis. Heart breaking. Her grandma put photos on her Facebook page last night . . . photos of the beautiful, happy young family in happy times. I have no idea how they are managing. It is so awful.

Irish dancing across the gym floor - memorable, indeed. Girls basketball doesn't draw a huge crowd at our school, so why not?

Ernie said...

Suz - You are certainly right - there are ups and downs. My heart breaks for all of them.

I didn't know that I'd named my kid a name that is used as a reference to drugs. (and no, her name is not COKE in case anyone is trying to figure it out). That's what that song refers to, according to my kids. They've always played it during warmups through the years, which makes me smile. It is pretty funny.

I feel like the movie is Karate Kid or Vacation or something. It'll come to me. My poor old-ish brain. ;)

Nicole said...

I am SURE that is a movie, because I have seen it too, but damned if I can think of what it is. I will be thinking about this all day.

Aw, what a sweet thing to say! And what a great experience for Mini. This was just lovely to read.

All the is just so awful and terrifying. I am so sorry about your cousin and your uncle. Sending prayers and good thoughts to you and your family.

Jeannie Bruce said...

Why do I feel like that interaction is from one of the Meet the Fockers movies.

Anonymous said...

I kind of think it's better to be a team that's losing but having a lot of fun with each other than it is to be a hyper-focused team that doesn't have fun. Even better to win and have fun with each other, of course, but-- unless your goal is for your kid to become a pro, winning doesn't have to matter as much as the human side.

It's also true that any competitive sport I have ever played where my team won, the winning was probably in spite of me, not because of me....

Pat Birnie said...

I am so sorry to hear of Violet. A friend of mine's nephew had the same type of cancer a few years back; it's pretty grim. And your cousin and uncle, heartbreaking. It's unfathomable how much grief some people have to endure.

What a fantastic thing to say to you about Mini. She seems to be just a delight. ps I received your poem & card when we arrived home after a 2 month trip - LOVE IT!! thank you for sharing. You and coach have such a beautiful family.

Ernie said...

Nicole- I should ask my kids about the movie scene. I bet they will know.

Yes, it has been a fun time for her. I wanted to write about some of the funny adventures they've had as a team, but that would've been a really long post. A girl on a cross town rival threatened to fight them after a game and Mini couldn't compose herself, laughing so hard. Then the girl posted on IG or someplace that she'd already been in 3 fights and after playing Mini's team she'd thrown her bag down on the ground (signaling she was ready to fight?). Mini responded on IG saying she WAS frightened once she saw her drop her bag (or something very tongue in cheek). The girl responded to Mini with smiley emojis or something. We were cracking up though.

Thanks for the prayers. It is hard to imagine what my cousin is going through. Being in so much pain that you are ready to die. Horrendous. My poor uncle.

Ernie said...

Jeannie - You might be right. I do need to ask my kids. We haven't all been together much this week - running in different directions. I was thinking Karate Kid or Vacation. Ugh, I can almost picture it. Maybe it was a John Hughes movie?

Ernie said...

Anonymous - I agree. So fun to win, but even more fun when the teammates are an eclectic collection. The assistant coach is thinking she won't come back next year. She doesn't work at the high school and just got married. Mini said she thinks it is because there will NEVER be a team like this. Ever. Poor Curly, I was hoping the assistant would be there to get to know Curly.

I'm laughing at your team winning in spite of you, not because of you. Twinning here. That is the whole idea behind a chapter in my memoir. It's a funny one.

Ernie said...

Pat - It is true that some people really get dealt a tough time. Hard to wrap my brain around it.

Mini's team experience has been a hoot. She also had a blast playing tennis. Badminton has been fun, but not like these other sports. She's opting not to play badminton this year. Wow, you HAVE been gone a long time. I hope you had a wonderful time. I feel like I mailed that ions ago. Glad you enjoyed it. If you look closely, Tank has been overserved in the main photo on the card at the tailgater. *sigh* Thanks for the compliment. They clean up pretty good, for the most part.

Beth Cotell said...

I'm so sorry hear about Violet's passing as well as your uncle and cousin. I am glad that Mini is such a light not only to your family but to all those she comes in contact with. You have really done a great job raising her.

Ernie said...

Beth - Thanks. There has been a lot of loss the last few months. Both Joe and my cousin are/were in their 50s. It is eye opening. Violet's passing is just unimaginable.

I like the way you put that - Mini is a light, really sweet. I joked with her that the Evan's committee called her a breath of fresh air and that I was once called a breath of fresh air . . . only mine was just in a job interview that didn't lead to much. Hers is counting a heck of a lot more.

Bibliomama said...

It bugs me so much when coaches miss the whole 'fun' thing for any team below professional. I mean MAYBE an NHL or MLB coach isn't out of line asking his players to be more serious about the game? Anyone else? Pfft, get over yourself. Sounds like an amazing team, talented or less so. How many kids left in basketball now?

Ernie said...

Ali - I agree. Especially with this group of girls. They are all here for fun, so let that be their mission and don't get in the way of it.

Reg and Curly both want to play basketball in college. Reg just started playing for a travel team and college coaches come to their games. Curly meets her new travel team tomorrow. Their school seasons are over and Curly is done with Irish dancing (upcoming post on that soon), but these b-ball practices are a hike. It will be my new Irish dancing.