Friday, July 15, 2011

Returning to the Starting Line

Love this picture from last night (Caleb is in the middle).

A week ago, Caleb finished dead last in the track meet, amid a sea of spectators. This week, Caleb competed again. Once more, he finished last, as a bleacher of onlookers soaked up the scene.

As I congratulated Caleb on this week's race, his expression was downcast. He said, "I finished last...again."

I pulled his face up until our eyes locked. Then, I said, "You were a winner the minute you stepped on the starting line."

The fact Caleb stepped upon the track and planted his toes along the starting line said something to me about my son. He was not allowing last week's defeat or embarrassment to hinder his willingness to get back in the race. In my book, that's a winner.

Like any advice, it's easier to dish than to receive.

Today, I felt like I had finished last in front of an audience. I made a public mistake (fortunately a harmless one) that impacted many people. Today's error combined with a challenging week caused the dams around my eyelids to burst. Buckets of tears poured down my cheeks for much of the afternoon (in fact I still have one of those post-cry headaches).

My friend Ali and my mom offered much consoling after my mishap. My mom went further and sent me an e-mail with more of her thoughts.

Here's a portion of what she said:

You're a good person, not a perfect person-none of us are.
We can't change what happens; we can just choose how to deal with it and learn from it.

She's right. Mistakes happen. I'll need/allow myself a few days to wallow in self pity, but then I need to move on. Like Caleb, I need to place myself back on the starting line, knowing there's always the chance I won't finish well (and in front of an audience).

But, winners are the ones that get back in the race.

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