To the moon…and back

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…He was almost too sleepy to think anymore. Then he looked beyond the thorn bushes, out into the big dark night. Nothing could be further than the sky.
“I love you right up to the MOON,” he said, and closed his eyes.
“Oh, that’s far,” said Big Nutbrown Hare.”That’s is very far.”

Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night. 

Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile,
“I love you right up to the moon-AND BACK.”

~Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney

My third quote for the 3 Quote Challenge is more of a passage from a well-loved children’s book titled Guess How Much I Love You. And last month’s super moon was more than happy to help me out with this one.

Guess how much I love you?….in the literal sense of the book it’s a conversation between a child and a parent; a question and answer to reinforce the bond that happens between those that genuinely care for each other.

But what does loving someone to the moon and back really mean? The distance between the earth and moon is almost 500,000 miles. If I wanted to really convey my love, wouldn’t I say I love them “to infinity and beyond”? Yeah, I could and it would probably more accurately represent my feelings.

And why to the moon and not the sun or stars or other planets? Seems a bit short-sighted.

It does until you really stop and think about it. The closest planet to our earthly home, the moon has always been romanticized and the subject of deep mystery and intrigue. Waxing and waning…new and full…the moon’s cycles represent eternity and an endless cycle of life. She lights up the sky, yet not by her own power….but great power she has upon ocean tides that can wield unparalleled force in nature.

And to a wee one who doesn’t understand the logical or statistical nuances of the distance to the moon, “to the moon” is an unimaginable distance to travel.

So the phrase now takes on a new meaning….I love you more than you can possibly imagine, with great power, and endlessly for my whole life!

Mystery solved.

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The FAIL that was wasn’t

I bet most people who write about their child’s accomplishments include words like Amazing. Wonderful. Adorable. Successful. Smart.

Today, I want to share a story about my child that may look like a colossal FAIL, but in reality, was not. Warning up front: this post contains references to the game of golf. If you are a golfer, you will understand, sympathize and probably empathize with the events. If you hate golf, you may want to come back another day.

College Girl played her last college golf regulation tournament last weekend. This four-year golf career has been a roller coaster ride with scores ranging from 77 to 100, and everything in-between. We’ve seen and experienced every emotion known to man. We’ve swelled with pride, but just as easily have shaken our heads in disbelief. We’ve seen her play through injury, food poisoning and weather not fit for man or beast. We’ve seen meltdowns unrivaled by any 2 year old’s tears.

We entered this last tournament with high hopes she would end her time here on a positive note. Go out on top. Throw up a score she could really be proud of.

The first day’s score was a very disappointing 89. Wind so strong it smacked balls downward out of the sky and drizzly rain added insult to injury. But there was always tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

The sun did not come out tomorrow. Literally or figuratively.

The second hole of the day was a disaster beyond comprehension. A par five, 424 yards. First ball hit out of bounds to the right…and lost. Hit a provisional. Provisional out of bounds on left. Penalty stroke to get it back in bounds. Hitting stroke four now and only 230 yards off the tee. Blade shot across fairway out of bounds. Penalty stroke. Hitting six. Blade shot back across fairway out of bounds. Penalty stroke. Hitting eight. Launch ball into creek in front of green. Penalty stroke. Hitting ten. Stroke eleven flies OVER the green. Chip on. Putt. When all is said and done, there are 13 strokes on this hole alone. Eight over par.

We are speechless. Waiting for the meltdown. She’s been 13 stokes over par for the entire 18 holes before, but never 13 over on one hole. Ever.

If she pars every hole from here on out, she could be okay.

The next hole is a triple bogey. Then a double.

All I want to do is run and hug her. Tell her it’s just a game and it’s all okay. But I can’t. No contact with the golfers in this tournament. Only coach is allowed interaction.

Entrepreneur suddenly has the need to go look for mushrooms in the underbrush.

Watching your child spiral downward while you stand by helplessly is one of the most unbearable parts of parenthood. The tears in my eyes accompany the deep ache in my heart and I’m sad to think that, in the end, this is what will be remembered. I’m silently begging God not to let this happen to her today.

Fifteen holes to go. We brace for what could be a career high.

te·na·cious (tuh-ney-shuh s) ~adjective
1. holding fast
2. pertinacious, persistent, stubborn
3. holding together; cohesive; not easily pulled asunder; tough

She is visibly shaken. Fighting back tears, she faces the next hole. I’m not so secretly hoping the skies will open up and put this round out of everyone’s misery. Maybe she could feign an injury and withdraw to avoid the embarrassment. She could do something to get herself disqualified. Anything not to finish what was looking like the worst round in more than a decade of playing in tournaments.

And then it happens.

Golf. A “gentleman’s” game of integrity and honor.

Par.

Par? Seriously?

For the next 14 holes she is 7 over par.

And she birdies the last hole.

15 holes, 7 over; 3 holes, 13 over. Score: 92.

Obviously she’s not happy. The tears flow. And now she has to turn in her score and face her coach and teammates. They are sympathetic as they know this very scenario could happen to any of them, at any time.

We learned something about our 22-year-old daughter that day.

She’s tenacious. It’s one thing to have a blow-up, disaster of a hole or two towards the end of a great round. She has certainly experienced that. The tendency to melt down and give up when your blow-up happens early in a round is strong. Frustration, anger, depression is hard to overcome. Facing what should have destroyed her confidence, she held fast; held it together; was persistent; not pulled asunder; was tough.

And although her score was as dismal as the weather that day, the sun did shine…inside. It shined through her strength…mentally, physically and emotionally.

And we are proud of her.

And she birdied the last hole.

And that’s what we will remember.