Tears, tiaras, tantrums and teens

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This has been a weekend filled with joy, angst, wins, losses and lots of love.

Powderpuff Rally

Powderpuff team charges into the gym.

On Friday morning there was a rally kicking off homecoming weekend at my eldest daughter’s all-girls Catholic school. To thunderous applause, the senior class powederpuff football team burst into a glow-lighted gym. I was in tears before they shut off the lights. Actually, I was fighting them back the moment I entered the gym. In part, reminiscing about my own high school experience, but also the shear emotion connected to recognizing the finality of this phase in my daughter’s life.

This is the year of lasts. I also recognize, it will be the year of firsts for her. But that’s another post.

Helen is not an athlete, but she embraced powderpuff the same way she embraces so many things: completely. And that made losing painful. Not just for her, but for all of them. But they will forever be bound in the battle.

For the many weeks they practiced, they learned not only about football, but about themselves and each other. They share the war stories, the wounds, the weariness. As much as they would have shared the win, they share the loss. Still they lost nothing in the experience that led up to that final score. The devastation of defeat is equally as powerful as the jubilation of victory. True to form, not long after the game, Helen was already reflecting on the meaningfulness of the whole experience.

After yesterday’s grueling defeat on the grid iron, she shifted gears to the other part of homecoming: the dance. Dolled up and looking lovely, we sent her on her way to her last high school homecoming dance. After I watched her drive away, I once again found myself fighting back the tears.

All the crying aside, I am happy to be where I am. Burning my finger as I hot-glue Lillian’s dollar store tiara for the third time. Reviewing college applications and changing diapers. Inspecting Lego creations and artistic masterpieces. Cheering at swim meets, football, soccer and baseball games. Applauding in the audience and celebrating first steps and next steps. I am happy to be here to wipe away the tears of tantrums, frustration, sorrow and defeat. (Even if at times they are my own!) 

When I find myself occassionally dwelling on dispair in this often challenging world, I try to keep focused on my family and doing my part: completely. I also recognize and find strength in the fact that I am part of a greater Christian team that will forever be bound in the battle. I hope that with each setback faced proclaiming the word in our world, I too can reflect on the fact that Christ won the victory over darkness for all at the hour when He freely gave himself up to death to give us his life.

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