Last week, Ethan was away in Tauranga (about 4 hours drive from here) competing at the annual AIMS (Association of Middle and Intermediate Schools) tournament. This is a huge sporting event involving hundreds of schools, in 17 different sports. This year there were over 7,500 competitors! That’s bigger than the Commonwealth Games, by quite a lot.
Anyway, he left last Sunday (on Father’s Day, of all days) and was away for the whole week. He got home at 7:30pm on Friday night, and I was so glad to see him. I missed him hugely while he was away. Although he took his phone with him, he was … shall we say … erratic … with his contact! No text to say they had arrived safely, and no replies to my messages on Sunday night/Monday morning. Finally received a text after his first game. No answers to my questions, but informative (telling me the score and the team they played, which I already knew thanks to the awesome AIMS website which was updated regularly during the tournament). I didn’t hear from him again until Wednesday! He called me, and said “Gabby (team manager) says that I’m not contacting you”. “You’re not” I pointed out. “Oh yeah”. Anyway, we had a nice long chat (which probably cost me about $10 since he only has a cheap prepay phone) and it was lovely to talk to him and find out that he WAS eating properly, sleeping okay, and having fun! Imagine my surprise when I received another phone call later that day. I hadn’t been expecting that, but he was so excited about scoring the only goal against the TOP team, and he wanted to tell me. Aww.
I had a few more texts and phone calls from him over the following days. His water polo team didn’t finish in the place they had been hoping, but they had some really awesome experiences. They got to play against the NZ rep team, and Ethan scored a backhand goal in that game! The whole journey of raising money and travelling far from home and competing in a sporting event of this size was just incredible, and I know each and every one of them thoroughly enjoyed it! Ethan is captain of the water polo team so he learned a great deal about how to be a good leader, and how to encourage and motivate the team, even after losses. I think he did a great job, from what the coach told me!
The week went by S L O W L Y for me, as I really did miss my boy a lot. I also wished I could be down there, watching him play and cheering his team on. It was great to get updates from the parents who were there, but I would have loved to have been there myself. I’m proud of how well my boy did and I know he learned so much from the experience. Finally, it was Friday. And finally, he was home. Looking older and more handsome than ever.
And all was right in my world again.
I even took him out on a date the next day. This was something that he had been asking to do with me for ages (go to a movie with me) but it just hadn’t worked out. We had such a nice afternoon together.
It wasn’t just me who missed Ethan. Rob missed him too, I think (he didn’t express those “I miss my baby!” feelings quite the same way as me). His brother missed him a LOT. And although Ethan didn’t get homesick, I know he missed us. As annoying as a younger brother can be, I am certain that he missed Tyler. And today proved it.
After church, Ethan had to deliver his pamphlets. He asked Tyler if he would like to tag along. Not so he could help deliver them (I admit, that was my first thought when I heard him ask … there is often an ulterior motive to things when it comes to 12-year-old boys). But to “walk next to me, so we can talk”. Bless! I was so glad that Tyler agreed to go, as he longs to spend more time with his big brother. Ethan, who is almost a teenager and is growing up, doesn’t always want to do that. I get that. But it was so nice to see the shoe on the other foot. Ethan obviously missed Tyler, and wanted to spend time with him. After the pamphlet round was finished, Ethan asked Tyler if he wanted to go and play rugby down at the school. It’s usually Tyler asking Ethan to do that, and lately it’s 50/50 as to whether he will get a yes. So for Ethan to ask was really cool. Tyler’s love language is definitely quality time, and that was proven by the card he made for his brother this afternoon:
My heart could burst about now.
My boys are NOT perfect. They are NOT angels. They do NOT always get along, and they often argue and annoy each other! But sometimes, the planets align and they are truly stunning human beings. Today was one of those days, and I relished every single minute of it.