This boy is awesome.
How could I have missed posting about the most amazing day he had just before school ended? Bad, bad mama!!!
Adam made it to the region track finals this year. He trained and worked very, very hard, and I loved watching it all evolve. Adam is an unusual child in that sometimes he is very social and outgoing, and other times very private and solitary. He is punctual and dedicated to the things he loves, but happy to blow off the things he does not.
And the boy loves track!
His events at this meet were the 110 and 300 meter hurdles, and the long jump. Now, the hurdles he had been doing very well in, but the long jump, surprisingly, not so much. His coaches had him doing things totally differently from last year, and I think it messed him up. That boy who could fly last year never even got close to his personal best this year. It was discouraging for him. And me. I love watching that boy jump.
At the big meet, a rare but powerful storm rolled in. The cement stair-step bleachers became a waterfall once the clouds erupted, and even our rain ponchos didn't save us. By the end of the meet we were the only family left in the stands on our side of the track. The runners waiting for their events had sought refuge in a metal freight container used to store hurdles, and they reminded me very much of the scene in I, Robot where the robots are all hanging out in the doorways of the freight boxes. Only wet, and with blue lips.
In his first race, Adam was doing pretty well initially, but in the last few moments a boy pulled past him and he lost the 3rd place spot. He was more than miffed, and no motherly consoling that 4th was still awesome took the gloom out of his face. His goal had been top three, and he didn't get it.
Deciding that he could not afford to split his energies between the remaining two events, he decided not to jump. "I don't want to get all cold and soaked and not do well in the race," he told us.
He knows himself best.
I tried to hide my disappointment. Part of what I love about the long jump is the fact that they land in a pit of fluffy sand, which is nearly the same as feathers compared to the damage that could be inflicted by stumbling over a hurdle (made, as we all know, of shark teeth and broken glass shards).
He stayed as warm as possible, and we waited for his event as thunder began to roll in the distance. The MC announced the meet would continue as long as there was no lightning, and they began slamming through the events as fast as possible in hopes of getting as many done as possible before having to call it. The rain, so needed and wanted by us all in this insane drought, was miserable. Thank heavens we left The Middles and The Littles with a sitter! I think I'd rather deal with an angry honey badger than a wet and cranky Jonah.
Finally, Adam's race came up. We had parked ourselves near the jumping pits early on, and his race came up so suddenly we had no time to move to the finish line, but we got to watch him prepare for take-off, as the race started right in front of us. To warm up, Adam does this crazy jump straight up into the air that makes him look like a rocket blasting off, like he might not come back down.
The starting gun went off so close to us that it made my ears ring, and he immediately pulled ahead with the fastest boys in the pack, vying for lead with a few others. Then, at about the halfway point, Adam suddenly sprung forward. At first I wasn't sure it was him. From that distance wet teenagers all kinda look alike. But then I saw the square shoulders and rigid, pumping fists that are easy for his mama to recognize. In just the last few moments a boy came up on Adam's left and nearly overtook him! He told us later that he heard the loud steps of the boy slapping the rain-soaked track approaching, and thought, "Aw, heck no!" He was determined he would not lose his lead this time. From somewhere deep down he mustered just a bit more umph to secure his lead, in the last few steps of the race, and with a lead of just about 2 paces, he won first place!
The dark cloud that had descended after his first race had lifted, and he came running across the field to celebrate his victory with us. His smile was reflecting all of ours. I felt so proud, of course, but also just plain happy to see him get that thing, that important goal he had set for himself.
He stayed behind to cheer for his team mates and bask a little in the celebration of his win. A win for him was a win for the whole team. Guy and I and the big boys sloshed hurriedly for the van, laughing and smiling all the way, and I enjoyed the chatter as everyone recounted the details of the race to one another. As we got closer to home, the clouds thinned, and we arrived home to find that it hadn't even rained on our house, a mere 1/2 hour away.
Guy stopped and bought a cake and a pizza on the way home. We scraped off the "Happy Birthday" from the cake, and I inscribed his name and victory in frosting on it.
When Adam got home, it was easy to bask in the sunlight of his smile and the warmth of his excitement. It was like it had never rained at all.