We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend. The weather was beautiful, Adam felt good, and the soccer was awesome! My favorite part of parenting so far is watching my children grow up. I know. That thing that makes me a bit sad or brings that bittersweet lump to my throat is also the best part. Growing up means learning new things, mastering skills, having real conversations, coping with disappointments, earning accolades, and so many other things. I love that. My son got a “player of the game” patch for his work in goal during their first game – I wanted to cry and hug the opposing team’s coach for choosing him. But mostly I just want to be thankful – and yes, happy – for the great weekend. The kids (players and siblings alike) swam at the pool, played with friends, and generally acted like the crazy kids they are; and when it came time to play, they played hard and with heart. Not much sleep was had, bruises were incurred, and tears ensued at times. In fact, Ethan had to stay home from school today and has a doctor’s appointment (oh, I’m tired of those) this afternoon because he is feeling pretty bad from allergies, lack of sleep and general exhaustion. But he coped. The whole time. Even when the other team scored. Maybe that is why I can’t seem to stop being so happy about this weekend. The wins were great – really great. But Ethan held it together. Ethan. While he was sick, tired, hungry and imperfect. Held it together. Thank you God, for my maturing kid! And thank you to some wonderful coaches and teammates. Do you know what a really great coach does? He teaches, loves, encourages, chastises, cheers, rewards, denies, punishes, challenges, and pushes a kid to be better than the kid even knows he can be. He helps a group of competitive individual egos become a team that works together. He teaches that sportsmanship is about playing, winning, and losing with grace and dignity. He knows when to let someone else teach his team things he can’t. And he never quits being on their side. So congrats to the Rocket City United Development Academy U-10 Gurley team on your gold flight championship performance at the Hoover Havoc tournament and a special shout out to Coach Aaron – he’s one of the good guys! Thank you for a wonderful weekend…and for a happy post – one that isn’t about cancer at all!