Saturday, August 30, 2014

The victory in defeat

 This morning defeat is sharing space in my house. My son Hank is a high school senior and football player. Last night was the season opener in our stadium and the air was heavy with anticipation and expectation.  Months of preparation, early morning practices all summer, afternoon practices in 100 degrees, you know the story. These kids work hard, they persevere and they prepare...And the first game holds a magic promise of a successful season.  Well last night, the band played, the boys ran onto the field, pictures were taken with parents wearing jerseys and when the ball was kicked off to start the game, everyone on our side of the field expected a decisive and big win.   Well that happened alright... for the other team......

Hank is a cornerback and he is a darned good one. He is flashy and fast with some of the best hands around. He has handled his job against some of the best players this area has to offer and handled it well. Rarely are balls caught on his watch and it's a joy to watch his work in the air. Electrifying ...There was no doubt he would put on a show. But the show belonged to the receiver. He was faster, lots faster and for a fast kid to get out fasted in front of a stadium full of people screaming at's not an easy situation.    

So we lost and we lost decisively. Hank had 3 balls caught on his watch and 2 for touchdowns. He knocked down 4 other passes but those 3 undid him. My son left the field in tears of defeat and carried his mistakes heavy on his heart and there were no words to ease the hurt he carried home. Defeat moved in.

Last night was also parent night which means the moms wear their son's jerseys and the parents parade on the field to be introduced to the crowd and have a picture taken.  In front of a huge stadium full of students and supporters.   The night before, Hank handed me his away jersey to try on and I knew right away this was not going to be a good situation. The jersey was so tight, I think my eyes were popping out of my head. I looked pretty much like a sausage in a tight casing with a big #4 on the front. And it was unbearably uncomfortable. Now in my defense, Hank is a slender kid and these jerseys are very narrow through the body. A hard look for anyone with curves not wearing big shoulder pads. But for this mom, it was impossible. I knew there would be pictures which would just make the whole thing even worse, not only would I feel massively self conscious, there would be photographic proof of how horribly bad that jersey fit.  Hank and I talked and he said it was more important that I was comfortable and there for him... so I wore a cute football mom shirt with sweet football mom accessories and some sparkly gold sandals and looked in the mirror. And thought that even though I am a little fluffy,  I still looked pretty cute and headed off to the game. 

Surrounded by the moms in their son's jerseys waiting to walk onto the field , I felt really out of place and not so great about the situation but still thinking I was pulling off the mom style. I smiled for pictures, took a few selfies with friends and as the boys ran onto the field with the band playing the fight song, goosebumps on my arm and the atmosphere full of possibility and excitement, I wasn't thinking about how I looked, just how much I loved to be there.  The game was ...well you already know how that went. 

I woke up this morning and went to the site where all the pictures are posted and first thing I saw this picture of myself...
And suddenly I realized that while the mirror was telling me what I wanted to hear, the pictures are telling me the truth.... I'm not going to lie. I've been crying for a couple of hours. I can give you all the reasons I am not as healthy or fit as I want to be but that is simply no longer relevant. What to do about all this, that is the question. This is my defeat; aging, having babies late in life, not putting the time in and quitting when there are no results. When the expecations don't measure up to the outcome. When effort isn't rewarded fast enough. When I want something to eat that I know isn't going to feed my goals and I have it anyway. When I stop because it gets hard and I excuse myself from the effort.

 I don't judge others on outer beauty. I believe we all are worthy of love and I believe in the beauty of every single person. But, I haven't done anything for my health or well being and that is the real deal. I love the people I love the same when I am thin as when I am not and my creative chaotic brain works in amazing ways no matter what size I wear. But I want more than this for myself. I want to do better. Defeat moved into my room as well and it feels really awful and mucky.

So as defeat is taking up space in my house I wonder what to do about it all. Clearly both Hank and I need a plan.   Three steps, accept the mistakes, learn the lessons and then move on without carrying the defeat with us. Let defeat remind us that we are made of more than giving up. By talking about defeat with no judgement or shame, I believe we will not give it more attention that defeat deserves. Instead I thank defeat for showing up and reminding me that I can do better, Hank can do better, we all can do better. And the beauty is, every minute is when we get the chance to do exactly that. Every single minute of every day... we get to dance with victory.

This cuff is something I wear most days from my friend at  .  So we stand up...again, again and again.   Hank is watching film and talking with his coaches early this Saturday morning so that he can be done with the mistakes of last night and move on. I am making a better grocery list, meal planning and buying some cute socks to sew pom poms on so that I have a bit of happy to put on my feet when I hit the streets when it cools down this evening so that for this day, I found a little victory in the stinging truth and   that is a place to start. I have  let the defeat hang out for a few hours already and by facing the truth, sharing the truth and taking away defeats shame I am saying  there is only room for one guest in this house and she is victory. 

Love wins


  1. You sure do you have a way with words, I really enjoy reading about your adventures with your business and with your sons. you are definitely a beautiful person inside and out. Don't forget that. Sometimes in life we look down on ourselves for different reasons, please don't, you are too good for that. ♡ fellow lover of all things vintage.

  2. Life is not a smooth track for most of us, it is rather like a roller coaster. Up and down and back up! I know you both will bounce back with new purpose. That's what you do, over and over again. Sweetie, you are so dear, I am so glad you're my friend, and Kelly is right, you really are a fine writer. I especially love the story you wrote about Christmas at Disneyland. See, I never forget! Stephanie.