Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grace Under Pressure

I woke up this morning to a migraine headache, something I get a few times a year, usually when a cold front is coming through and smashing up against a warm front. I was thankful that I had a few hours before I had to go pick up the kids from school and drive them way out east for a basketball game.

I managed to consume a banana and a cup of tea so I wouldn’t have to take analgesics on an empty stomach. Then I snuggled up with my toddler on the couch and watched a Thomas the Tank Engine video.

She roused me at the end of the video and I realized it was time to go. I felt absolutely nauseous and was not sure how I could possibly drive. “Go get your hairbrush,” I told her.

She was on her way up the stairs, when she complained, “I think there’s something stuck in my nose.”

Thinking it was a “boogie”, I stuck my finger in her nostril to see if I could clear whatever was bothering her. I didn’t feel anything.

“There’s nothing in there,” I said.

“There’s something stuck in there!” she insisted.

So I placed her on the couch and looked up her nose. She was right. There was a miniature jingle bell stuck up her nose. I hadn’t seen this happen since my eldest was two and had stuck a bead up her nose; it had required a visit to the pediatrician to remove it.

I looked up at the clock nervously. If I couldn’t get it out, maybe the school nurse would remove it for me. I picked up a tweezer and a toothpick, random items left on top of the microwave.

The toothpick fit perfectly into the hole in the jingle bell, and it came smoothly out. She seemed to suffer no discomfort. “Phew!” Suddenly my nausea was gone. That fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline had kicked it out of my system. Thank God.

As we drove, I felt the pain in my right eye gradually dull, fading into my sinuses. We stopped at a light and the sun peaked out of the clouds at me. I found myself thanking the Lord for the headache, which had reminded me that I always need to ask for His Grace to get through a busy day of being a mom.

It was a long drive. When we arrived, the coach went into the gym and came out to tell us that, due to a drama rehearsal, the game was being delayed for a half hour. We were welcome to hang out in the snow-covered parking lot in the meantime. I realized we had forgotten to bring water. We took our extra time to go to McDonald’s for some nuggets and shakes. At least dinner was out of the way for the night.

The game started with the other team ahead. Finally, a close game, one worth watching, I thought. We had been undefeated, and none of the other teams had given us much of a challenge. I soon realized that the other team was composed of experienced eighth graders, towering over our mixed team of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. By half-time it became apparent that we might be in for our first loss.

Our poor girls really suffered at the hands of the opposing team. There was scratching, slapping, kicking, elbowing…not a girl escaped without a mark to her face or body. Sure, they had fouls issued, but the damage was already done.

So we walked away from our first loss, bruised in body and ego, but knowing we had played by the rules and done our best. Kudos to the coaches as well, for giving all the sixth graders some playing time even when we were behind. I am sure every parent drove home giving their children lessons to be learned about sportsmanship even in the face of the lack of the same from the other team.

Some days just aren’t that great…but we can still glean some great thoughts from them. Like when you get a gift that is hard to appreciate at Christmas, but then you still remember it’s a gift. Every day in this walk is a gift, and with our children in them they are all golden.

Picture above is from a game played in Dec. 2009 - both teams displayed good sportsmanship in that game.


Barb, sfo said...

Just curious, do your girls play in a CYO league too? My daughter does, and it's so frustrating to see the ugly play that some teams encourage. I'm glad that the team we play on Friday is not one of those. They outplay our team in every way, but they work hard and play well.

Yikes on the jingle bell!

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Hi Barb, My kids play for the Catholic Middle School Athletic Association. Some of our 8th graders are also on CYO but I've seen nothing but good sportsmanship from them. These senior girls are pretty tough though - so I wouldn't be surprised if they face this on a regular basis. This is our first season playing basketball. Softball is our first love :)

Loren Christie said...

Sounds like you had a rough day. Did you ever imagine you'd have to look for things like bells in noses, before you were a parent? I've had to pull things out of noses too. Hey, that gym sure looks familiar. I've been having headaches around 4 p.m. too. I hope yours is gone for good.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Hi Loren! It must have been the snow in the clouds. It tends to bring on headaches in people who are vulnerable to them. Wasn't it pretty this morning?

Gardenia said...

Oh I just love your writing, and I'm been meaning to introduce myself (I haven't yet, have I?) I believe I found you through Catholic mothers online Angie, and I've been reading you for a couple months, You just write so beautifully. like today, how you were happy for the headache so you could be reminded to thank God for this day and the blessings hhe was sending. And the last sentence of your post, that even things that may not feel like a gift are a gift ! that's so true. nice to meet you.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Hi Gardenia, It is so nice to meet you too! Thank you for your uplifting words!

bettyl said...

Funny how we can realize that 'bad' things end up teaching us a 'good' lesson. Thanks for sharing.

Louise said...

Your last paragraph is a gem. I'm holding it in my heart as I start my day! Thank-you.