Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Woo-Hoo! That's My Boy!

We've just returned from a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia (in western Canada, for my fellow geographically challenged friends). As you might guess, I am full of stories, but I'm only going to share one story tonight, one I've been just bursting to share....

Excerpt from Ethan's Journal - Saturday 7/24/09
This has been the most wonderful day. We're on our fourth day at the cabin on Green Lake, and our fifth day of vacation. [Green Lake is about a five-hour drive from the Vancouver area, where Bill's family lives.]

The very best moment came this morning. After breakfast, the water was as smooth as glass, so you, Kurtis, and Travis gobbled the rest of your bacon and cinnamon rolls and then hurried to the boat for a second attempt at wakeboarding.

You had come so close on Thursday, and I just knew you'd get it today, especially since you'd just watched an instructional video--twice. Of course, it couldn't be that easy.

Aunt Lisa got in the water with you and showed you how to hold your feet and arms, and Uncle Cory tried to ease you out of the water. Twice you let go of the rope almost immediately. The third time, you were actually out of the water when you let go. One more time, and you'd have it! We all praised you profusely and encouraged you to try again. On the fourth try, you let go immediately. It was clear you were exhausted.

You climbed back into the boat, shoulders slumped in defeat. I wanted to comfort you, but I didn't want to make you cry, so I gave you space.

Kurtis [10 years old, two years younger than Ethan] was up next, and just like the last time, he got up on the first try. It obviously had not been a fluke.

Kurtis on Wakeboard

Travis [8 years old, I think] got up on his third try and flew all around the lake. I was happy for your cousins, and I cheered for them, but my heart ached for you. I knew you must be crushed to be the oldest and the only one who didn't wakeboard. There were so many things I wanted to say to you--like how proud I was that you'd kept trying--but I felt you still needed your space.

Travis on Wakeboard

When we pulled back up to the dock, you murmured that you wanted to try again, but there was no enthusiasm. I told you it was fine to wait if you didn't feel up for it, but Aunt Lisa said we should never discourage a child from trying again.

So she climbed back into that frigid water, and I heard her speaking kind, encouraging words to you as she helped you rehearse the motions your body would make. Both of you were shivering visibly, but you wore a look of grim determination.

On the first try, you got out of the water but immediately fell backward. Amid cries of "Good job! So close! You'll get it!", you got ready one more time.

And then... you were up! "Woo-hoo!" I screamed, and unexpected tears filled my eyes. You see, I'd first been praying that God would help you wakeboard, give you some fun today. But as I watched you try and fail, try and fail, I began praying that He would teach you the lesson in this, that you would stop comparing yourself to others and learn what you were capable of. You'd done it! You didn't quit when it got hard, and you didn't let embarrassment and disappointment ruin your day. I'd never been prouder of my boy--no, my young man.

I captured your triumphant grin on camera and video as you effortlessly boarded around the lake. Just as I'd suspected, your prior experience in skateboarding and snowboarding made you a natural once you finally figured out how to get up.

Ethan's Turn, At Last

When you were ready to stop, we circled back to the dock, where you let go of the rope and glided to a smooth stop, slowly sinking into the water.

Back ashore, I impulsively planted a kiss on Aunt Lisa's cheek while she sat shivering in the sun. "Thank you," I choked out, still hugging her. "You were so good, so patient with Ethan."

Lisa had tears in her eyes, too. She reported that Uncle Trevor had gotten teary eyed over all of you as well. "And they're not even my kids," he'd marveled....

Now, I wouldn't change the experience for the world. I know it was good for Ethan to struggle for what he wanted, and that the struggle made the victory all the sweeter. He is becoming a man right before my eyes, yet he's still a boy, too. I feel like I did when he was a toddler and growing too fast: these are the best years, and I want to savor them.


Diane said...

wow - that story brought tear to my eyes too, as I suspect it will do for all other parents who read this entry.

Melissa Irwin said... proud of him. and yes...the struggling makes victory so much sweeter!

Jenny from the Block said...

Awesome story, I'm glad he made it up!


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