Friday, February 19, 2010


I'm sitting in my kitchen drinking a cup of coffee and waiting for my son to come downstairs and eat donuts with me.

Because that's what really good mothers do. They eat donuts with their children.

Blake is missing school today so he can drive to the University of Illinois and support his wrestling team mates who are competing in the state tournament.


So I took Kayla to school today. When I got up this morning she asked if we could stop at Casey's on the way to school and get a couple of donuts. Did I tell you? We have a new Casey's near the school - woot!

So I said of course we would stop for Donuts. Because I'm sacrificial like that. I make myself eat donuts. For the Children.

Then her brother came downstairs and mumbled something like "hey mom, how 'bout you bring some donuts from Casey's?" I told him I was already on it.

Are you starting to pick up on the fact that our family likes donuts?

So then. Kayla and I ran into Casey's to pick out our donuts and while I was at the donut case I felt a little tap on my shoulder and when I turned around there was one of Kayla's classmates smiling at me and saying "hey, Mrs. Woolard." Hey, Devin. I love love love it when my kids' friends make a point to speak to me when they see me in public.

You like really like me.....

{{I would like to take this moment to give a little shout out to the teachers and administrators at my kids' school: When you see my daughter in the cafetorium eating donuts and diet pepsi before school, please know that she had a banana before she left home. She also has access to other fresh fruit, healthy cereals and yogurt. The fact that she chooses donuts and diet pepsi is something I'm going to blame on her father for now. M'kay?}}

Now back to my donut date with my daughter. Let me just ask you, is there anything a sixteen-year-old girl likes more than bling? Probably not. Now imagine her delight when she finds a donut with bling on it. Seriously. She found a donut with silver sprinkles. And it was oh so shiny and sweet looking. It was so shiny and captivating, she could barely place it on the counter so I could pay for it.

It was so shiny and captivating that when she told me she forgot to bring her Junior Class Schedule for next year (and it's due today) and I said "That's it! Give me your donuts." She said "NOT MY SHINY ONE!!"

I'm going to have a whole gross of shiny donuts made so that when she gets upset about something I can say "Kayla...Honey...look at your donut and breathe. Watch. The. Donut."

Anyway, after my sweet and shiny 30 minutes with my daughter this morning, I came home and yelled up the stairs "Blake!!! Donuts!!" and got no response. So then I sighed and did what I hate to do.

I texted him: DONUTS.

And he still hasn't come down to enjoy his donuts with me. Should I be offended? I'm being stood up for the second half of my Double Donut Date.

His reluctance to join me has worked to my favor in one regard. It's given me the chance to remove the Chocolate Iced With Peanuts from the box and set it aside for myself.

Because that's what mothers get to do. They get to steal the good donuts.

And let me tell you. Wrestler or not, I could totally find a way to pin that kid if he tries to take my Chocolate Iced With Peanuts.

In other news.

With the state wrestling tournament going on today and tomorrow, Kayla has made an excellent point.

Wrestling does not have a huge following. I understand that. People have basketball and volleyball and all sorts of other commitments. Wrestling is not a sport a lot of people are familiar with and so they don't enjoy watching it. Totally understandable.

But, and here is Kayla's point, the students who didn't care to follow and support the wrestlers when they were working their way to the state tournament are suddenly very enthusiastic for our state bound wrestlers - because it's a day away from school to go watch the tournament at the University of Illinois.

And that has some of the loyal followers a little ticked off. So I'd like to thank the few students who supported our boys.

First, the beauties - Kayla, Hannah, Andrea, Becky, Mrs. Barnes, Miss J-net.

And the beasts (who Blake calls his Crew) - Drew, Jake, Taylor and Brian. There has never been a more vocal and enthusiastic fan than Drew. Oh how we love hearing Drew in the stands when our boys are on the mats...and on the podium getting their medals.

Thanks Beauties and Beasts. You are the best.

As for the rest of the students who are interested in the state tournament - I'm thinking of The Little Red Hen. They really wanted nothing to do with making a state bound wrestler, but they certainly want to enjoy the experience of the State Tournament - and missing a day of school to do so.

One good thing to come of this will be that people can see how hard our wrestlers work - what a difficult and intense sport it is. Hopefully they will see that it does involve strategy and planning, patience and quick thinking.

And maybe those extra fans will inspire our boys to reach the top in the tournament this weekend.

Good luck Chris (140), Andrew (189), Aaron (215) and Trent (285).

You Wrestlers Wrock!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Today my husband gave me a box of chocolates - COLD STONE CREAMERY chocolates (who knew?) - and a video (New In Town) in honor of Valentines Day. I love them both, just as I love the card he gave me.

I also got received a card from my children. A card that says "For letting us know we didn't need to be perfect in order to be perfectly loved, thanks Mom. You're Wonderful."

I am in awe of that sentiment.

I love this card for two reasons:

Number one, it is from my children.

Number two, it makes me feel like I've done something right.

I've made mistakes as a mother but I will not list them because there is not enough memory on this or any computer to record them all.

But one thing I have always hoped to do with my children is let them know that I love them NO MATTER WHAT.

I have never expected perfection from my kids; and that's a good thing because they are not perfect. And that works out just fine because they are being raised by two parents who are not perfect.

But as they get closer to leaving our home (99 days, in fact, for Blake) I hope, more than anything, that they remember one thing.

That, no matter what, I have loved them.

With all the mistakes I've made in this journey of motherhood, I choose to believe that I've done one thing well.

I've loved them.

I've loved them as fiercely, as strongly, as perfectly as I know how to love.

I've loved them through temper tantrums, discipline issues, poor grades, calls from teachers, and issues too personal to mention on this blog.

I've been angry with them. I've lost my patience with them. I've slapped my forehead and wondered how I would get us out of the current mess. But always the Good Lord has helped me remember that I love them - that even though they aren't perfect - I perfectly love them. And He has helped me to remember that I must tell them that. And so I do - daily.

Neither of my kids has been the star of an athletic team. Neither of my kids will be valedictorian of their class. They have both made mistakes - some bigger than others.

But if I might speak a little too highly of myself for a moment....I know that they know they are loved. They are perfectly loved.

They are perfectly loved by a far from perfect mother.

When life has kicked them in the teeth; when things don't seem to be going their way; when they think they just aren't measuring up in a world that is far too competitive for young people; I wan t them to know that they are not perfect but they are perfectly loved.

And my hope for them is that the knowledge of that love will be their soft place to fall when life has knocked them down.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Today at Blake's regional wrestling meet I watched the sweetest victory I think I'll ever have opportunity to witness.

And it had nothing to do with my son.

The interesting thing is that the boy who achieved this victory was going to be a subject of my post tonight anyway. But not because he had actually won a match.

Because he hadn't.

The only wins to his name until today had been wins due to forfeit.

Because this boy, Brandon, is our 103 guy. Except he isn't...103 pounds that is.

He weighs 85 pounds.

He is living with a liver disease and he is quite small. He looks frail and tired. His skin and eyes are yellow.

This is Brandon - the one with his back to the camera.
We have never seen Brandon run from a fight, even though he knows he's going to get on the mats and face an opponent who is nearly twenty pounds larger than he. He runs out at the beginning of each match like he knows he's going to set the world on fire with his strength.

And when he is pinned in 20, 30, 40 seconds - after giving it his all...well, he shakes his opponent's hand and gladly shakes the hands of the coaches before he jogs off the mats again.

I've never seen his parents at a meet. I have seen him at the concession stand without enough money to pay for his snacks. But always there is somebody from the team digging into their pockets saying "I'll get Brandon's." The team takes care of him.

Brandon fills my heart. He's a fighter. He's a little guy with a big desire to simply go out and do his best.

Today was a big meet. Only those wrestlers who placed third or above would advance. For the rest, it would be their last meet of the season. I suppose, like in all the other meets, the coaches and team sent Brandon out to the mat expecting another loss out of him. Not that he doesn't fight like mad to win, but he just isn't strong enough to conquer his opponents. He is, after all, an 85 pounder in a 103 world.

But today was different.

Today Brandon came up against an opponent his size.

And Brandon made it through the first period.

And when that buzzer sounded at the end of the first period, his team mates were on their feet. The state ranked wrestlers, the tattoo covered 189 guy, the guys who could carry Brandon with one arm...they were on their feet punching the air with their fists. They were yelling 'til they were hoarse, they were coaching him from the sidelines - 15 pumped up, testosterone filled voices encouraging him, telling him HE WAS GOING TO DO IT.

I doubt the actual coaches' voices could be heard, so loud were the fans and the team.

This wrestler had never made it past the first period.

This wrestler had turned it into a match.

The second period came and went. His opponent started yelling - grunting - so furiously was Brandon working him over.

The wrestling team could not be contained. Their little guy who took this weight class because "they had nobody else," was setting the stage for this phase of their meet. Even if he did not win, he had made it further than he ever had this season.

Our little 85 pounder had become a giant.

The buzzer rang a second time and Brandon was going to make it to the third period.

More fist pumping from his team mates. More yelling from nearly hoarse, sweaty, bulging muscled young men who cannot believe what this little guy is doing for their team.

More calm forward leaning posturing from the coaches who had never been in the position to direct Brandon through 3 periods before.

Our crowd is on their feet.


I can only imagine how long those last 2 minutes were for him. He knew victory was near, but so unaccustomed was he to it he was confused. He did not know what move to make next to pin his opponent.

S0 he just held him. And held him and held him. With every bit of strength his tired little body had left, he held him. For nearly twenty five seconds, until the final buzzer, he held him.

What an incredibly long 25 seconds.


And then the final buzzer sounded and our small crowd erupted. Our wrestlers did more jumping and fist pumping.

With a final score of five to four, Brandon had won.

He gets a win to his name now. This box score is not going to say 'win by forfeit.' It will say 'win by decision:5-4.'

He got to raise his hand in victory today - a victory he fought for, not a victory brought on by lack of an opponent.

He gets to advance to sectionals next week because he won third place in his bracket. He stood on the podium and received his medal.

And he got more high fives and hugs than any wrestler at the meet today.

And because his mother wasn't there, I felt it was my duty to let happy tears go ahead and run down my cheeks - just for a moment.

Everybody deserves a moment like this. A moment that will keep them awake at night, so excited are they every time they remember it.

"Remember the time I won that first win? When nobody thought I could do it? When I thought I couldn't do it?"

Who knows what this moment will inspire Brandon to try next?

Today is my birthday. I spent it sitting on the bleachers watching a very long wrestling meet.
And I got to watch a sweet young boy inspire a gym full of wrestlers and their parents with a victory none of us imagined when we awoke this morning.

Happy Birthday to me. What a sweet sweet day.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


A few months ago, a certain teenage girl in our household began having trouble with her cell phone.


It probably had something to do with the fact that said cell phone had been dropped from the bleachers at a wrestling meet. And not onto a wrestling mat as one would hope but onto the hard wood floors from about 20 rows up.

So then.

Her father and I told her that until we decided when and if her phone would be replaced she would have to.....gasp....use the land line.

This caused much confusion and distress......

That squiggly cord thing....the mere massiveness of it....the fact that it could not be carried in her pocket.

Yes we are indeed cruel parents.

Of course we parents decided that the phone would be replaced but not by a new one. Then came the difficult decision as to which parent would enter the cell phone store and take care of this. We thought of doing rock, paper, scissors. We considered arm wrestling.

But then I merely spoke one sentence to Kayla's father and the decision was made:


And it was said through clenched teeth. Worked like a charm.

This caused our teenager even more distress because she knew she might end up with two tin cans on a string if her dad was in charge of her replacement. So to prepare for the humiliation, we practiced with two cups and a ribbon.

Things began to fall apart when she realized one cannot text on a plastic cup.
Sweet Mercy. This girl was beyond distraught. She had no phone. She had no way to text her friends. All she had at her disposal was...gasp...the land line.

My phone! My phone! My sweet constant companion - my phone!
It was really quite pathetic.
Once her father had been to the cell phone store and realized that the phone could be replaced with a slightly used model for a mere $12 shipping charge, I decided that she and I could share my cell phone until hers arrived in the mail.
And then the clouds parted. The birds began to sing. And joy was returned to the W house.
Ah - sweet contentment.

Then came the difficult days of waiting.

Oh the torture of waiting for a cell phone to arrive in the mail.
Every day after school (for three whole days) my tortured soul of a daughter would come in and desperately ask "Did my phone come?"
And, oh, the ache in my heart when I'd have to say "No dear. It did not come today. Just be strong a little longer. YOU CAN DO IT. And remember, I am here for you during these dark days."
And then (hallelujah chorus) the phone arrived in the mail and our daughter, for a brief mindless moment turned into Tom Cruise on the Oprah show:

Up on the couch she jumped.
I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!! My phone. My phone is back!!
And then she vowed to treat her constant companion cell phone with much better care and tenderness, as it deserved.
The End.