Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gold Medal Memories

I've been working on my photo organization and yes, I realize I've been saying that since 2010, but in my defense we have a lot of photos here people. Most are of the old fashioned variety so it takes time to sort, toss, scan, date and make copies for the appropriate people. Plus I might lack the discipline of an Olympic athlete and am easily distracted.

Anyway, I've come across envelopes filled with pics of my girls participating in various athletic endeavors and thought it would be fun to discuss some of my favorites in this week's Thursday Thirteen. The Olympics of their childhood so to speak. I know that's a stretch but I do better when I can springboard off a theme.

Seriously I could work the Olympic analogy all day long.

I'll play we go-

1. My girlies participated in a variety of sport during their growing up years, and yes I'm counting ballet as sport. If you don't think it requires skill, strength, coordination, and hours and hours of dedicated practice then you've never stood on your toes til they bled.

There has always been a softness about my girls...not in the sense that they're weak, but in the sense that they are delicate. Petite. Small boned.

Case in point-that's daughter1 in front there and I think it's safe to say she's got her game face on. Intense. Serious. Determined.

She is equivalent in weight to a hummingbird.

2. Not convinced? Exhibit B-daughter2.

Are there certain photos in your collection that you get a little lost in until all of sudden you realize you've been staring for several minutes with your face stuck in a ginormous smile? That's how I feel when I look at this picture. It is so her.

The sassy pose, the infectious grin...happy just to be alive sharing a Saturday morning with friends, distracting the opposition (and possibly her own teammates) with her running chatter about why the grass is green or why she loves the color blue, counting the minutes until her favorite part of the match-the end. At age five she was all about a high five and a snack.

3. Glancing at my girls, the first word that pops into your head would most likely NOT be fierce.

Apparently though, they do have a smidgen of the fierce.

4. It's harder than it looks to run and cradle a ball while wearing a shirt the size of a dress.

Whose idea was it to stick this little peanut in the goal?

Probably hers. She might never have set foot in a goal but that's neither here nor there. She would have those coaches convinced she should play goalie.

5. Speaking of goalies...I'm pretty sure at age 10 daughter1 did NOT volunteer to be goalie. I think this was a case of everyone has to take a turn in the cage.

Lady coach on the right is giving daughter1 a big giant pep talk. Man coach on the left is trying to figure out what in the world is the deal with that goalie jersey? My girls spent most of their elementary school years wearing uniforms at least four sizes too big.

6. Unless we're talking ballet 'uniforms' which are technically called costumes and are made to fit just right.

A role in The Ballet Theatre of Maryland's 'The Nutcracker'.
I saw the show six times that year.

I'm a mom.
It's what I do.

7. Field hockey in the state of Maryland, and particularly the town where we lived, was over the top. We tried it. We liked it. We did not want to dedicate our lives to it which, in a nutshell, is my biggest complaint about organized sports for young kids in the 21st century.

8. In her heart she's always been a dancer. A coordinated dribble or a graceful have to choose.

When you're fourteen should you have to choose?

9. Spinning skirts and pointe-y shoes called her back to a barre on the wall and Tchaikovsky in the air.

Everything about this picture makes my heart leap.

10. When we moved to England daughter2 joined the swim team. Daughter2 had never in her life been on a swim team and while we knew she could swim we were not certain she could swim at the level required for team competition in high school.

See #4.

The team needed swimmers and she was game. One of the things I loved about the International school was that the kids were encouraged to try all sorts of sport they'd never have a chance to compete in back home. If you haven't been on a soccer team most of your growing up years you'll likely not make a high school team in the US. You might even be pretty good if given the chance but often the coaches have been following the players thru the younger leagues and know who they want on the team.

Our school's motto was more of the, 'Hey, why not try out for soccer?' mentality.

And so it was that daughter2 ended up on a swim team for the first time at age 14. That first race was a little hard to watch but her fellow swimmers yelled and screamed and cheered her on and she did it. She mastered the butterfly and the flip turn and you know what else? Ending up on that swim team meant she saw Paris and Antwerp and Cairo with her teammates.

I would have gone swimming for a trip to Cairo.

11. I've blogged about this before but daughter2 went off to uni and phoned home one day to say she tried out for cheerleading and made the team. Huh? Had daughter2 ever in her life been a cheerleader? Nope. Does she ever let a little thing like inexperience keep her from grabbing what it is she wants in life? Nope.

Has this attitude turned my hair gray?
A little.

I've saved two of my favorite pics for last.

12. This picture takes me back to the sweetness that lies beside the spunk in daughter2. Here she is with her basketball coach. This little team had such a fun season. The coach had a bunch of children of his own and a very nice way with a gaggle of girls. At the end of the last game he made a little speech and each girl went up individually to receive her trophy and shake his hand.

Not daughter2. She flung a heartfelt unexpected hug on him and the sweetness of the spontaneity just made your heart melt. His too. I'm telling you she gets under your skin and into your heart in the blink of an eye.

13. And then there is this-

We don't forget the big things in a child's life. Birthdays, celebrations, graduations...those moments are marked in a hundred different ways and can be brought to mind in a quick second. But the thousand little pieces of yesteryear that once upon a time filled your every thought and hour? Their detail is a little harder to recall.

The sweetness of an orange on a sunny Saturday.
The muddy shoes and damp, sweaty hair.
Innocence on a lightly freckled face.

Moms and dads in camp chairs chatting on the sidelines, no one eager to hurry the day along.

Games, lunch, unscheduled minutes to fill.
Cleats tossed into the corner and too big shirts into the wash.

The song of the neighborhood in late afternoon.

Grass mown under a brilliant blue sky.
Bicycle tires across the pavement and the sound of a swing flying high.
Children's voices light on the breeze as day rolls into dusk.

Tiki torches and dirty feet.
The fairy light of a firefly beckoning a pony-tailed girl to chase.

I see this photograph and I remember what I never wanted to forget.
The extraordinary ordinary of childhood days.


  1. What a beautiful and precious post! It takes me back to your other post also, about those who feel a woman has wasted her education and life when she chooses to take on the role of MOM. How could the head of a major corporation (or some other such career) have given such special and memorable moments as the career you chose - loving, training, mentoring, and always being there for your daughters. They will rise up and call you blessed. Can a CEO say the same?

  2. What a beautiful post for your girls.

  3. Spoken eloquently from a mom with grown children. I have two grown and feel the same way, but the two at home just about to enter 4th & 5th grade keep me in the ordinary. Sometimes it's exhausting second time around, but remembering to treasure it (and goes super fast!) helps. Tomorrow we're off to Six Flags. I feel too old, but your post will help me to enjoy the moments I have with my younger girls.

  4. great window on your life Sandy

  5. What sweet memories ... thanks for sharing them with us.

  6. Wonderful post. I bet there are little girls who look up to them. What great role models!

  7. Aw...I enjoyed sharing your memories! Your girls will treasure this--if not now, then one of these days for sure!

    I wish I'd started blogging sooner! Time has a way of fading a lot of those precious memories as we grow older.

  8. What a beautiful treasure of photographs. The ballet positions looked very nice and all the sports pictures were quite interesting.
    You should be very proud,you raised them well.

  9. Wonderful timeline. You will treasure this.

  10. Love this post. Such sweet pictures and I especially love the reminder at the end for the extraordinary ordinary days. I forget those way to often

  11. Gorgeous! What a lovely post. I especially love the #9 photo. Such joy.

  12. Love all the pictures of your girls :)

  13. Somebody is feeling melancholy! Looking through old pictures will do that. Wonderful pics, and wonderful memories!

  14. Wow it goes fast uh.....and all the memories! What great girls you have love their spirit to try new things! I need to organized all pictures before I got my digital camera in 2004 stinks though so many of my good pictures are in scrap books in order to get them out I ruin the book! I really didn't think that one through...who knew we'd be digital some day!

  15. Sigh. There is nothing better than old recital costumes. I'll bet that after sitting through that show six times, you would have happily sat through a seventh. :)

  16. What lovely memories of your girls! I just love the ballet photos, but the sports photos remind me of the one season my daughter played soccer. Way to go that your girl made cheerleader with no experience! What fun, too!

  17. This post is very nice, your girls sure are athletic. I loved trying out for so many sports when I was a kid, I think sports definitely help build character. I can see why you need time to organize your photos, there's a story behind all of them :)

  18. Fabulous post, a really sweet window into your girls. And I love that your daughter--the cheerleader one--was willing to just dive into something new! Great attitude.

    Thanks for sharing.

  19. I'm guessing you've seen this video, but thought I'd copy the link just in case. If you haven't seen it, get your box of tissues ready.

  20. Precious, all of it. And funny, too. "I would have gone swimming for a trip to Cairo." LOL

  21. I so agree with Cranberry Morning's comments! Always enjoy your walks down memory lane and nothing provokes those memories like going through old photos. What an enjoyable post.

  22. Sweet pictures. I can only imagine the pictures Michael Phelps' mom must have, or the mom of Gabby Douglas. Those dear mom and all they put into it. They deserve a medal too. :-)

  23. what a lovely post! must make your heart happy!

  24. Awesome post Joyce. The pictures are lovely. I have boxes and boxes to go through. I don't see it happening anytime soon! Way to go on working on yours. The girls are so darn cute. They will thank you for this blog someday.