Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guest Post: Watching the Olympics with My Kids

Have you ever had two friends that you wanted to introduce to one another because you knew that they'd love each other?  

That's how I'm feeling today.  It's my pleasure to introduce you to Ami from Bunkers Down.  I've come to love her writing and her family, and I'm delighted to share a guest post by her today.  I think you'll love her humor and insight as much as I do.

So get comfortable (dare I say, bunker down?) and enjoy.

Gentle reader, I love the Olympics.   I love them, I love them, I love them.  As a family we've spent many hours this past two weeks watching the summer games on t.v.  So many hours.  Too many hours probably.

I justify all this by saying that the Summer Olympics only come every four years and since the kids aren't in school why not let them stay up later and watch these educational and culturally enriching competitions?

In reality I just have an absurd fascination with Michael Phelps.

Here's what went down the other night at my house.

"I think I am going to go to the Olympics on the women's gymnastic team, " my nine year old daughter decided.

"Seriously?" I asked her, "It's such a brutal sport on your body.  Look what happened to Kerri Strug."  We watch a clip of the 1996 Atlanta games where Kerri landed a vault on one foot because she had torn two ligaments in her foot.

"Fine!" she winces, "I'll do fencing and archery instead."

"I remember I was in college.  I watched Kerri Strug's vault with my roommate on my small t.v. in our apartment," I reminisced.

"You lived in an apartment!  That is so cool!" my daughter gushes.  "I'm going to live in an apartment some day in Chicago.  I'm going to get takeout for dinner every night and I'm going to have a dog.  Apartments are just so cool."

I can tell that I have risen substantially in her eyes by sharing with her my story of living in squalor during my early twenties.

Will, my ten year old son, anxious to steer the conversation back to sports, announces that he is probably going to set his Olympic sights on joining the U.S. swim team.  "Really?" I asked, "I thought you would have rather had Bob Costas' job.  He gets to talk about all the different sports and share all the statistics and scores.  That would be a perfect fit for you."

He sniffs.  "Maybe after I retire from swimming in my mid-thirties.  Someone has to take Michael Phelps' place you know."

(I am not the only one obsessed with Phelps.)

My five year old announces her intentions of going to the Olympics on the U.S. diving team.  And the trampoline team.  And the swim team.  And in tennis.  And rowing.  "All of the teams!" she announces gleefully, "And I'll give you all my gold medals because I'm going to live with you forever."

"So you're going to pay me rent with your medals?" I tease her.  "Yes!" she answers.

We watch Michael Phelps receive his medal on the stand.  Will stands up tall and straight with his hand over his heart while they play the national anthem.  He takes his patriotism very seriously, even as a couch potato.

(He also greatly appreciates the increased modesty from the beach volleyball players this year.  Evidently he was a Benedictine monk in his previous life.)

"Are you crying again Mom?" my older daughter asks.  "You cry anytime someone gets a medal!"

"I'm not crying," I maintain, "I'm just tearing up a bit."

My son butts in, "She cries so much because of what she is."

"Are you saying I'm a crybaby because I'm a girl?" I ask in a mock-angry voice.

"No.  You cry because you're a mom.  You think everyone is your kid."  Will explains.

More than the excitement, more than the dramatic finishes, more than Michael Phelps, I love watching the Olympics because it gives me the unique opportunity to really see my children.  As we've sat on the couch, snuggled together, I am reminded of the fact that they are real people with their own dreams and their own plans and their own ideas.

It humbles me immensely that I play a part in that.

And it does make me cry, just a little, tiny bit.

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6 comments:

  1. Love you, Ami! I'm so glad we have the right to tear up because we're a mom and everybody is our kid! (A very astute observation, if you ask me.)

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  2. TheMomChefAugust 07, 2012

    How awesome is this. Robin, thanks for introducing me to Ami. I'll be heading over to Bunkers Down in a sec.

    Ami, your family conversation is awesome. Our daughter must have been a nun in her previous life because she was shocked at how tiny the men's swimsuits were in the diving competition last night. Though, come to think of it, she didn't stop watching....at all.

    Thank you for reminding me not to let any moment slip by without soaking in the wonder of it.

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  3. Love this!!  Sometimes those seemingly benign conversations with our kids give us the most insight into their true personalities.  I love family moments like these!  Thanks, for sharing Ami!  Robin, glad you introduced her to others - she is fantastic!!!

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  4. I agree, Lisa.  Those little moments can provide amazing insights.  Glad that you liked Ami's post.  :)

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  5. Perhaps we have a match in the making?  Or at least a bad joke: A Benedictine monk and a nun walk into a bar....

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  6. Ami is full of those astute observations, isn't she?  So nice to have you visit here, Mindy.  Thanks for commenting!

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