Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Closet Overhaul

Now that summer is officially here (what the hell, Mother Nature? We went from 40s to 80s in a week, with nary a day in the temps between those!) I had to go through O’s closet and move her long sleeved shirts to the guest closet and her tank tops to the closet in her room. Why yes, she does have two closets, one for seasonal clothes and the other for her off-season clothes. Don’t all nine year olds have two closets?

I also went through her short sleeved shirts and pulled the ones that are obviously too short (she’s a long-waisted gal) and/or too tight and those items went into our “Gracie Box”. Gracie is Tom’s oldest son’s daughter. She’s two and a half years younger than Olivia. She gets all of O’s gently used clothes.

The clothes that were used a little more harshly get tossed into either the burn barrel or the rag bin. And let me tell you, that Olivia can be hard on clothes.

Anyway! I also went through her pants and shorts. There are quite a few that were too tight in the waist and so have to be sent off to Gracie. Her pants went into drawers and the shorts were brought out into the cubbies where we can see them when trying to figure out what she wants to wear each day.

Speaking of what Olivia wasn’t to wear, let me just say that this child has very strong opinions on what will and will not go on her body. We have boxes and boxes of clothes that will fit her from when her sister was her age and her size.

But do you think Olivia will wear half of what is in those boxes? Nope, of course she won’t. Because, see, Alyssa also had strong opinions on what she wore four years ago and she and Olivia have very different sense of style. Of course they do.

Most of the stored clothes are blue. Alyssa has been on a blue kick for years. YEARS, I tell you. And, a lot of them have pictures of horses on them because yeah, Alyssa loves horses. And puppies and even a few cats. She’s also all about comfort and being casual.

Olivia, on the other hand, doesn’t mind blue but really wants bright colors like neon green and hot pink and frills and ruffles and PRETTY stuff. It doesn’t have to be comfortable so much as it should be fancy. Of course, if she can pair comfort with fancy, she’s all in. And it can’t be itchy because that is the line she won’t cross even for fashion.

Once I got started with the sorting, I found myself at Alyssa’s closet, going through her clothes, organizing them into sleeve length and color. I know…so much OCD in one family.

I called her upstairs and made her tell me if she’d wear certain things and then ones she declared too ugly to exist were tossed. Why bother saving them for Liv when I happen to agree with Lyss?

Yay for organized closets. Yes, my life is now complete…for now.

Friday, May 27, 2016

On the Cusp

At nine years old, Olivia is on the cusp of little girl and pre-teen. She’s on the verge of being too big and too old to do some of the things that are cute when you’re little but annoying and just plain weird when you’re older.

Just this morning we were looking at the pictures we’ve taken over the last couple of days as we wrap up the school year. I called Tom over to look because they are great pictures. Then I pulled the picture O brought home earlier this week from school. Their class had pen pals all year and on Tuesday, their pen pals came to visit them. It was awesome for the kids.

The teachers took pictures of each child with his/her pen pal. Olivia and her pen pal, Emma, stood next to each other and unfortunately, whoever took the picture managed to capture O at a really weird angle. She looks demented in that picture. (I’m her mom, I can say that, right?)

And yet, in this picture, she’s so pretty.

I pointed out to Tom that when she’s being ‘normal’ she takes great pictures but when she’s trying to be silly, the pictures come out weird. Of course, I suppose that’s the same for everyone right? (Hell, I can't take a decent picture ever because, hello triple chin and weird angles and just...ugh!)

We’re closing in on that point where the odd behaviors that we endure at home need to be shut down when we’re out in public. I have told her on several occasions in the past couple of months that she knows how to behave in public and I expect her to do so.

I don’t want to smother her individuality but I do want her to fit in. I want her to celebrate her weirdness in the best ways possible while still not spilling her entire Dr. Pepper all over the floor at Arby’s because she was flailing her arms around as she told a story.

I don’t expect her to be a typical kid because I know she’s not. I don’t want her to stop being herself, but I know that she understands what is acceptable behavior at places like school and band concerts. I know that it can be hard but I also know she CAN do it. And so we’ll continue to expose her to events that test her patience, her endurance and her attention span because through these tests, she’ll get better and better at handling situations like this.

She’s going to keep growing and learning and it’s up to me and Tom (and to her teachers to a lesser degree) to help her figure it all out.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bring on Summer

Today is the day that I have to start saying that I have an eighth grader and a third grader. They have wrapped up seventh and second grades.

But before eighth and third grades start, we get to enjoy summer. Bring it on!

Okay, so yeah, we have a tonsillectomy scheduled for Olivia in June but until then, we will enjoy the heat, the humidity, the pool, the lake, the sprinkler, popsicles, ice cream on the deck, and trips to the park.

And after her surgery? We’ll do it all over again. We need this time, these moments to recharge and regroup.

Let’s hear it for the girls of summer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

When Your Sister is an Over-Achiever

Olivia asked me this morning, “Does Lyssie have another concert tonight?”

I replied, “No, we have to go to Gram’s, though.”

“Yay!” she sighed, leaning into me for a hug.

We’ve had to go to the school in the evenings quite a bit in the last couple of weeks and Olivia is over watching her sister receive awards, or play in the band or sing in the choir. She’s done with sitting still while we all clap for her sister.

Honestly, I don’t blame her. When you’re nine, there is nothing worse than having to sit still for an hour and listen to bad music. Heck, sitting still for an hour listening to good music would be too much to ask of most nine year olds.

Thankfully, I don’t think Olivia views Alyssa as a bar-setter. Liv isn’t watching her sister accept awards and sitting back thinking, “Well, damn, now I have to work harder so I can get those awards too.”

Olivia isn’t about competition. She’s okay with letting Alyssa be the best flute/piccolo player in our house. Olivia is the best at spinning in place. She doesn’t mind that Alyssa brings home the best grades, Olivia is the best at spinning a tale about Mush Mush and Katherine, her imaginary friends who used to be conjoined twins but who were separated years ago and now live separate lives while doing exactly the same thing at the exact same time all the time.

Yeah, in the long run, Olivia doesn’t view her sister as an over-achiever. Mostly the fact that Alyssa is so active at school and excels is more an annoyance to Olivia because it means she has to go back to the school in the evenings and that’s never fun.

Really, Olivia sees her sister as that girl she can pester and annoy until she chases her around the house. And that’s always the best thing EVER.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Field Day

The girls’ school holds a Field Day every year on the last Friday of the school year. Since they only have school until Thursday this week, Field Day was last Friday.

Field Day is an afternoon of fun for grades kindergarten through fourth. Parents volunteer and man thirteen stations of games out in the field behind the school.

I did not volunteer to run one of the stations. First, because I didn’t want to. That’s the most important reason. The second reason is that I go to Field Day to spend the afternoon with Olivia, not explaining a game fourteen times to kids who probably won’t listen. I volunteer at every single party each year. I even serve as Party Planner for at least one of those parties, sometimes two of them. So I don’t feel bad for not volunteering at this event. Instead, I follow whatever group Olivia is in from station to station.

When I first arrived, before she saw me, I had a chance to watch Olivia interact with her peers. Their first event involved water, and this thrilled the kids to no end. Olivia was right in there, taking her turn, running with a cup of water from one bucket to the other, giggling with her peers as they splashed each other.

I stood with her teacher in wonder, amazed at this girl who is growing so fast. She was amazing.

Then she saw me, ran over to give me a soggy hug and then returned to her group.

I followed them from station to station, often separating a couple of the boys who were being especially obnoxious. At every single station, Olivia tried so hard to complete the tasks. Her teammates were so sweet and supportive. She was so happy to be outside, playing with her peers, doing something other than classwork. I was grateful to get to watch (even as I was refereeing the boys, OMG THE BOYS!)

Near the end of Field Day, we came to the baseball throw. They’d set up nets and the kids were separated into two groups. In each group, the kids took turns throwing a baseball into the net. If it landed in the bottom of the net, it counted. The first team to use all the baseballs in their bucket won and then they’d all do it again.

The first several balls Olivia threw were duds. They barely made it to the net, let along landed in the bottom of it. But she kept trying and finally, FINALLY, she made it. And her team went wild. There was much high-fiving and clapping. She was so proud. I was so proud I might have had to wipe away a tear. These are kids she’d been with for three years and they know her. They know she won’t talk to them but she will laugh with them, she’ll play alongside them and maybe they get that she works twice as hard as they do to do what they do. Maybe. Who knows? All I know is that it was so awesome to see her accomplish something and see her peers congratulate her for it.

A few stations done from the baseball station was a tic tac toe station. The kids were using yellow and oranges shirts for their Xs and Os. Olivia was a little confused about what was expected of her. I started to work my way to the front of the line to explain it to her but stopped when I realized I was not needed.

Grant, a boy in her class, had taken it upon himself to ‘coach’ her. When it was Olivia’s turn, he’d tell her where to put her yellow shirt. Then he’d stand at the front of the line and yell to her down the lane at the ‘tic tac toe’ grid and encourage her, changing their tactics if the space he’d told her to take was taken by their opponents. Then, when she got back to the starting line he’d tell her, “Good job.”

It was the sweetest, cutest moment. We’re right where we belong right when we belong. And we’re beyond blessed/lucky to be here.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Great Ketchup Outrage

Olivia attended a baseball game with her school yesterday. Yes, the entire elementary school went to the game. They piled seven grades (kinderkids through six graders) onto several buses and then corralled them into the ballpark. My admiration for elementary school teachers just grows and grows.

When she got home, Tom asked Olivia what she had for lunch.

She told him, “They gave us hot dogs, chips and juice.”

“Did you eat your hot dog?” he asked her.

“No,” she replied.

“Why?” he wanted to know.

“Because it was in a bun,” she told him quite primly.

From my nest on the couch where I was trying to sleep off the fatigue that apparently comes with pneumonia, I snorted a laugh and reminded her, “You know, you could have taken the hot dog OUT of the bun and eaten it, right?”

She shrugged and bounded toward me. “Do you think they let the kids have ketchup and mustard with their hot dogs?” she asked, suddenly very excited.

Even though I knew the answer, I gave her the one I knew she wanted me to give. “Of course they let the kids have ketchup and mustard.”

“No!” she declared. “They did not! They actually gave some kids some ketchup and then they TOOK IT AWAY!”

“Why?” I asked because this narrative was too fascinated to drop.

“I don’t know but they wouldn’t let anyone have ketchup or mustard.”

“Well, you don’t even like ketchup or mustard,” I reminded her. “Why did you care that no one else got it?”

She shrugged again and said, “I don’t but some of the other kids were really mad that they couldn’t have ketchup with their hot dogs. I just like my chips. They were barbeque flavored.”

“Oh, those are my favorite!” I told her.

She grinned and then went out to tell Tom she had homework because she’d forgotten to bring her sheet home the day before.

That kid…she’s always so full of stories and injustices and even if those injustices don’t actually affect her directly, she’s all about reporting on them, doing her best to generate great public indignation over the lack of ketchup and mustard on those hot dogs. She’s watching out for the little guy, I tell you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Out of Energy

I want to write. I want to talk about Olivia being a weirdo and how, as her parent, I’m allowed to call her that. I want to celebrate Alyssa’s amazing night last night.

But this whole fighting pneumonia thing is wearing me out.

I give all I have at work (yes, I’m still going to work, it pays a debt…ten francs may save my poor Cosette!) and so I just don’t have it in my to write funnies about weird, awesome kids.

Maybe tomorrow, if I sleep better tonight.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Winding Down Second and Seventh Grades

Last Friday, Alyssa attended the Jr. High dance. She didn’t go with a boy, good heavens, who do you think she is, some kind of teenager or something? No, she went with a group of girlfriends.

The day before the dance, I went to a Toledo Mud Hens game with Alyssa and the rest of the Jr. High choir. It was actually a lot of fun. But can I just say right here that thirteen year old girls never stop eating? At least, they don’t when food is pretty much constantly available. Yikes! But still, so much fun. I felt very lucky that Alyssa actually wanted me to go with her. I even got to ride the bus! There were two other parents along for the ride and we all commented on how lucky we are that our kids still want us around.

Tonight (Monday) we have Alyssa’s band and choir concert.

Wednesday, Olivia’s school (yep, the whole school) is celebrating a year of reading by going to a Tin Caps game. What’s with all the flipping baseball? I really want to know.

Friday, Olivia’s class (well, the entire elementary school) is having their field day, which is just an afternoon of crazy fun in the field outside the school. I always take the afternoon off to spend with her (in the past with Alyssa) while she frolics with her classmates. I don’t call them ‘friends’ because, well, we’re talking about Olivia here.

Next Monday, we are attending the FIRST EVER Jr High academics award. I capitalized those words because that’s what the invitation said. They weren’t actually capitalized on the invitation but they were set apart, so…yeah. That should be fun and interesting.

Second grade has been eventful for Olivia. She’s growing up faster than I can stand. She’s worked hard this year. Her reading is as awesome as ever. Her math…well, she works very hard. She wants to do well and she wants to understand. What more can we ask of her, really?

Alyssa, well, she’s far surpassed anything we could have thought to ask of her this year. She’s been on the high honor roll every single grading period, with more A+s than As even. She practices her flute more than we ask her to (for reals, there are times when we’d like to ask her to STOP practicing but we never do, because, duh, we’re supportive parents and all.) She practices her piccolo WAY more than we ask of her. In fact, just last week, she had me laughing when she mentioned that she needs earplugs for when she practices the piccolo. Hahahaha!! She defended her comment by saying, “But it’s so loud and high pitched and it’s RIGHT there by my ear.”

Yeah, kiddo, we hear you. Believe me, we hear you.

As we wind down second and seventh grades, I’m excited to see what third and eighth bring us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It's Scheduled

We met with the ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) yesterday to discuss Olivia’s near constant state of strep throat.

Armed with records from last August until most recent, we counted eight cases of strep in a nine month period. Yikes!

He recommended that those tonsils come out. I, obviously, agreed with this assessment, which is why we were at that office at all. She needs to get to a point where strep isn’t our first thought the instant she gets the sniffles.

After Alyssa’s experience with a tonsillectomy, I admit that I’m a little nervous. It took Alyssa a good eight days to even start to bounce back after surgery. She was in a lot of pain that first week, refusing both food and drink for several days.

I hope we can avoid that with Olivia. I know we’ll be okay, though. She’ll get through it, she’ll get well and hopefully, third grade will have much fewer sick days than second grade had.

Surgery isn’t for about six week, so yay, I get to obsess and worry between now and June 22. That ought to be great fun.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The End of Track Season

Alyssa’s last track meet was last Thursday night.

While it was fun to watch her compete (and WIN!) we’re all glad the season is over. Alyssa’s ready for her legs to not hurt and I’m ready to not stand outside in the cold wind for hours at a time twice a week.

So this week we’re easing back into what used to be our normal schedule.

I no longer have to go to work a half hour early several days a week to make up for the time I had to leave early for the track meets. Tom no longer has to plan his afternoons around picking Lyss up from track practice.

We don’t have to figure out how to eat dinner after 8pm because we don’t have to be out at meets until that time anymore.

Sure, she’s going to run again next year, but we have a good ten months before it all goes to hell again.

Ahem, okay so that was harsh. But let me tell you, that last track meet was hellish. It took for- freaking-ever to start, took forever to end and all in between, we were freezing and miserable.

When it was over though, on our way to McD’s for a celebratory dinner for Lyss, she declared that when she got to school the next day, she was going to tell her friend S that she shouldn’t have quit track right before the first meet because that day (the day after the last meet) would have been THE BEST DAY EVER because track was OVER.

My mom and I laughed and enjoyed Lyss’s joy over having accomplished getting to the end of track season.

She’s already planning which friends she’s going to recruit into track next year. She’s got her roster all set up and knows exactly how to rope each friend into doing it with her. I love that she did this all without the pull of close friends and that she’s going to be that close friend for others to join up and run along side her.

Heck, she’s evening planning on how to make her sister into the next long-distance runner for the junior high track team in five years.

It might not have been all fun and games for any of us, but now that we’re through it, I’m so glad she did it and I think she is too.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Why We Got Her a Piccolo

Alyssa’s new piccolo arrived in the mail last Friday. She named him Tiberius.

Yes, she’s very much my child.

She found the piccolo on Amazon for 80% off its original price, which brought the prices down to $80 once you added in shipping and handling.

Not bad for a student-quality musical instrument.

But wait, why did we get her a piccolo? Well…she’s had a really good year at school. She’s worked really hard and been a generally good kid. And who doesn’t want to own their own piccolo?

Alyssa has been dropping hints about the piccolo for months. She did all kinds of searches on brands and types that were best for beginners. She talked to me, to my mom, to Tom about how much different the piccolo is from the flute.

All the while, she’s practiced her flute every single day, done her homework, gone to track practice and meets, picked up her laundry (when reminded), gotten excellent grades on tests and homework. Yeah, she’s kind of been one of those kids you see in the movies who must have an ulterior motive for being so generally well-behaved.

I mean, sure, she’s gotten snippy with her dad a few times, been growly with her sister and even rolled her eyes at me here and there but she’s thirteen...when we call her on those behaviors, she apologizes and goes about her day.

So my mom and I talked and we decided we’d go in together and get the piccolo.

Oh my goodness…the practicing that has commenced this past weekend. We finally had to send her out onto the back deck to practice for the cat. That thing can be shrill, is what I’m saying.

But she’s already got a pretty good grasp of it.

She’s searched YouTube videos of piccolo players, she’s searched for sheet music for the piccolo. She’s practiced the piccolo using her flute music.

Our house is alive with the sound of the piccolo. And it's as 'delightful' as you might imagine.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cri du Chat Awareness

May is Cri du Chat Awareness month. You know, fifth month, fifth chromosome…neat, huh?

My Facebook page is full of parents posting pictures of their beautiful kids from infancy to where they are today, all of them defying the odds that doctors gave, walking, talking, playing, learning.

We live with 5p- syndrome every single day. It’s in the little things, like how hard math is for Olivia. Or how she still needs someone to put her shoes on her (her hands are just too weak to force shows other than flip flops onto her feet.) Tying shoe laces is hard for her, the dexterity needed is just too much.

And yet…we don’t think about 5p- every day. We don’t think about how this syndrome has affect our lives because it just…is. Olivia is. She’s bright, she’s beautiful, she’s funny and sweet. She gets jokes and sarcasm and has the best laugh.

She’s a voracious reader and still loves to listen while I read out loud to her.

We’re incredibly lucky as far as O’s health is concerned. Sure, we’re staring down the possibility of a tonsillectomy coming up but that feels like a rite of passage for her just being a kid rather than a syndrome issue.

I don’t think much about what she can’t do these days. So she can’t tie her shoes…well, she can live in a world without tying her shoes. Seriously, she can.

I think about all she can do. She walks, runs, dances. She sings and tells stories. She’s an excellent typist and can write the best stories on her tablet. She gives the best hugs and at nine years old, all knees and elbows and random lumps, she’s still the best cuddler in our house.

I worry about her being lonely as she gets older because she doesn’t get her peers and I don’t think they get her either. But we’re working on that and it’s going to be an ongoing issue for years to come.

It’s all just part of being her mom. We worry about our typical kids, we worry about our ‘special’ kids. If we were paid for our worries, we’d all be independently wealthy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Retaining My Mellow

There are moments when I’m at work (and yes, sometimes at home) when I feel the stress of the day, when the buzzer rings one too many times and I’m hungry and just want to cry or scream.

Those times have not happened this week.

This week, I’m on prednisone for my horrendous cold from last week and this stuff is like bottled mellow.

In fact, on Monday, I was doing the more frustrating part of my job when I realized that, hey, I wasn’t frustrated at all. I was calm and all, “Hey dude, it’s no biggie. All the work will get done and if it doesn’t, well, no one will die.”

(Please note that I do not work in a medical field of any sort or do anything at all that has to do with actual people, so truly, no one will die if my work doesn’t get done on any given day…I’m thinking I’m lucky.)

I was totally channeling Doc from Z Nation, is what I’m saying.

And at that point, I thought, “Man, I wish I could bottle this feeling.”

And it hit me! They have bottled it. It’s called prednisone and I’m over here riding the wave of mellow that comes out of that bottle.

I can see why people get addicted to this kind of thing. It’s kind of nice to just not really care. Nothing seems important enough to get all stressed over. Things are happening all around me and I’m okay with it all, just here in my little bubble, cushioned by the prednisone coursing through my system.

I have two days left of this prescription and then it’s back to my own, natural coping skills. I need to try and remember this sense of well-being, of not really being bothered by what’s happening around me, if only to continue to get through the days at work.

Of course, that’s all easier said than done, especially when lunch time has come and gone and I’m still working away, getting very hangry and channeling the Incredible Hulk with every single new item on the list of things to be done…

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Stepping Up

With me being so sick the last few days, Tom had to really step it up around the house.

Wait, let me preface this by saying that he’s pretty awesome most of the time. The breakfast and lunch dishes are always done when I get home each day from work, he gathers the garbage I take to my mom’s on Tuesdays, he helps with the girls’ meals, etc.

But this past weekend, he did pretty much everything. He gathered the laundry, washed and dried it all.

I did fold it and put away when I had the energy but he did the bulk of the work.

He got Alyssa behind the vacuum cleaner (miracle!) and he swept and mopped the kitchen floor, which, honestly, was filthy. Ick!

He fed the girls all their meals all weekend long because I just didn’t have it in me to even think of what to cook, let alone get up and cook it.

I know this is what partners do but I feel incredibly lucky to have one who actually DOES this stuff.

There was a moment over the weekend when I was on the couch and Olivia was at the other end, sharing my blanket. Alyssa was practicing her flute and Tom suggested to her that she leave the room.

I gently told him, “You know, if I wanted to truly rest, I could go upstairs. I am the one laying here in the living room where they should be allowed to play and practice. I’m okay with them doing their thing. Really.”

He seemed to appreciate my comment. I think he wanted so desperately to make sure I was getting the rest I needed that he was going overboard on making sure things were quiet. But I just wanted to lay there among my family, enjoying their presence. I didn’t need to sleep, I just needed to rest and hearing Olivia play and Alyssa practice didn’t disturb my rest one little bit. And having Tom sitting beside the couch in the recliner watching Law and Order didn’t disturb it either.

The best part might have been when Olivia commented a little while later, “Hey, the whole family is in this room.”

That’s right. The whole family was there, together, doing their thing. We’re lucky like that.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Least We Can Do

I was sick pretty much all week last week. I finally went to the doctor on Friday and came away with a double diagnosis of sinus infection and bronchitis. I also got myself a prescription for an antibiotic and a steroid to help with the infection and ensuing congestion brought on by the infections.

This makes me realize that when Tom called on Thursday night and offered to go to Lyss’s track meet, I probably should have taken him up on it. It was a very cold (lower 50s) afternoon with pretty significant wind. Tom knew I wasn’t feeling well and so he’d offered to take my place at the meet and I could go home and spend the afternoon with Livie.

I thanked him for the offer but declined. I wanted to be at Lyss’s meet. I wanted to be one of those parents who never miss a meet.

I know, what difference does it REALLY make?

Alyssa wanted me there and I wanted to be there for her, so to US, it made a difference. Sure, she’d have been fine with her dad being there but she’d prefer me. Just ask her.

There is this girl on Alyssa’s track team. Let’s call her Tatum. Tatum is also in Alyssa’s grade, so she’s in seventh grade.

Tatum couldn’t compete in the first track meet of the year because she hadn’t have her sports physical. She was there for support, though. She’s a sweet enough girl, seems little immature when compared to Alyssa and her other friends.

Anyway, she did get her physical and was able to compete in the rest of the meets. She shows up, she runs hard and she always, ALWAYS looks like she’s freezing because she wears only the track uniform provided by the school, which is a tank top and shorts. I mean, wait, she does have sweat pants she puts on after her races and a jacket but when she running…just the shorts and tank.

Alyssa and the rest of the team have both short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts for under their uniforms. They also have both knee-length and ankle length running shorts/pants that they were under their shorts, depending on the weather. These extra clothes are provided by the parents. We searched EVERYWHERE for royal blue running pants for Lyss and just found them a couple of weeks ago.

There are a lot of parents like me who show up to every single meet because, well, we’re able to do so and we want to.

Tatum, on the other hand, has never once had a parent or grandparent or even an aunt or uncle show up to a meet.

I’m trying so hard to understand that there are obviously valid reasons this girl never, ever has anyone at these meets. Maybe both her parents work second shift and they simply cannot afford to take time off work to come to her meets. Maybe they don’t have flexible jobs that allow them to be gone from work several hours twice a week to watch her compete.

Maybe she’s being raised by a single parent (I don’t think so, though because she talked to me and my mom about her ‘parents’ at the first meet) who is struggling just to buy groceries and keep a roof over their heads and so can’t afford running pants and shirts for under uniforms.

We’re lucky over here. We have two parents and several grandparents who are able to do these things. We can afford the running pants and shirts. We can adjust our work schedules and be there for all the meets.

My mom put it pretty succinctly this weekend, “They put in all this work, the least we can do is show up and watch.”

And I agree with this but I’m trying to be a little less judgy when I see kids like Tatum working so hard and not having a single person there to hug when she finishes a race. There could be so many reasons her parents can’t be there.

Those of us who are lucky enough to be able to be there will cheer for the kids whose parents can’t. It’s the very least we can do.