I was away from home for an entire week, travelling on business. What this meant was that I would be missing my son’s participation in an annual international judo competition being hosted by Barbados over the weekend. I had helped with securing media coverage of the event over the last few months and usually operated the score board during the matches (volunteers are usually at a premium). I couldn’t believe the clash in dates, but had no choice.
It is situations like these that challenge us in doing the right thing as a parent. I agonized and worried and worked my brain cells into one big knot because I wasn’t going to be there to lend my support. Worse yet, he got sick on the Friday before the competition and developed a high fever. Oh why wasn’t I at home to look after him? After training so hard for more than an entire year it looked as though he wasn’t going to make it.
Fast forward to Saturday: day of the competition with more than 10 participating countries and 110 competitors. Nathan is still not 100% (his dad guestimates 60% as they push off from home; my heart hurts for my 16 year old ‘baby’).
The first text message from the venue where the tournament was being held indicated he had four matches. My chest constricted as I foresaw four defeats. The second message confirmed he won his first fight, another message the second one, and then the third as well as the fourth match. Number one in his category and gold, gold, gold! He was also awarded the Male Senior Ippon Trophy in addition to that gold medal! What great news!
Am I sorry I missed the action? Of course! Especially after returning home to a disheveled un-swept house and overflowing laundry baskets; I was so not impressed BUT I have realized that as a parent you can’t have it all AND most of the mental battles we fight are self-inflicted.
So which do you think is more important? A gold medal champion or a clean tidy house with clean folded laundry and clean floors? You tell me!
Will I worry less when I’m away from home travelling? Probably not. I’m a parent. Will I ever stop thinking of my son as my ‘baby’ as he grows up and takes accountability for his life? Sure I will … eventually … as a parent … but in the meantime I am relieved and happy that everything went well even if it was without me.
Congrats Nathan Weithers! I thank God for you every single day (even though I admit there are some days I would much rather run away and there are things my mom just never got around to telling me about parenting).
And never forget: Momma is very very proud of you!