Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Retroflective: Defeat and Fruition

Welcome to Faith in Ambiguity's Friday Retroflective, wherein I look back at my entire week, inventory each strand of lint in my navel and then attach hypertext to all of them. This week I have not included any possums, but I have made you a scrap book of my kids, just like you always wanted. 

You're welcome.

Thoughts and Images

The U-12 boys Los Alamos Lasers went to Durango last weekend and we brought along their recently recovered center mid-fielder. They played hard. They lost. Someone, I suppose, has to place last in the gold bracket. This time it was Devin's team. In order to avoid aggravating his torn thigh muscle, Devin played goalie. Every ball that got past was a personal assault. A lot of balls got past. He played well, but was thoroughly outmatched. And so ended the season, with tears choked back and doubts rising up in his throat, the curse of his mother's sensitivity reverberating through his whole body and echoing against the wall of the minivan, answered by my own sorrow for his disappointment.

Last year a first place medal on was placed on his neck. Devin tasted, for the first time, the champagne euphoria of the athlete–the elation of a big, unexpected win. It is easy to mistake this approbation for a reason to play. And last Sunday he tasted defeat. He cried until he was done crying. Then he set the sensation of crushed hopes alongside the excitement of the year before, next to old medals, ribbons and bits of string. He wiped his tears and choked back his sobs and went to go ride a zip line with his brother.

6 year-old Mikalh, strapped onto bungees on a trampoline, touched the sky with his tiny feet. Against the backdrop of fog and rain, he looked like a baby bird just before it realizes it can fly.

14 year-old Rowan rode the zip line. For a teenager rippling with ropy muscle from neck to ankle, that feat was easy. Comforting a younger brother devastated by disappointment? That was harder.

Back at home, things in my garden are starting to resemble food. Here are little heads of lettuce starting to form, somewhat shaded by the company of their closely planted twins. 

Potentiality is exciting. Seeds are nothing more than little packages of promise. You can't help but admire their pluck. For myself, give me a plant in fruit or flower any day. I like to see what I have worked for. Here is a newly bloomed columbine, creature of the Faerie Realm, part snail and part sylph. She seems about to raise her head and speak to you.

This week began with my story of last year's Durango soccer tournament. I celebrated Mother' Day by imagining the voices of hundreds of mothers echoing off the walls of private rooms, for once getting a chance to tell their stories uninterrupted. Then it was time to stir the pot with another question for Team Ambiguity: Do Women Really Want to Suffer in Relationships? You answered, and I spent the week muddled and distracted, mulling over all that you had to say. I guess I consider that the point of being alive. Wednesday my husband kindly lent me the story of his forced servitude as a pet sitter for my Things You Should Know About Pet Ownership series. And then I wrote a bunch of stuff about wisdom teeth with deeply embedded pus and metaphors and you politely ignored me because you were raised not to talk about pus. I, on the other hand, was raised in a barn. And that was pretty much my week.

On the Ouija Nellie Vaughn of Buttons Are Not Currency has reminded me about Ouija boards. I remember all the misspent hours of my adolescence spent using them and then imagining myself showering with pernicious spirits. Or was it my imagination? Nellie has a wry touch that leaves one uncomfortably wondering, "Did she mean that? I don't believe she meant that, did she?" In other words, she is my kind of chick.

Oz Knows Poop Kelly at Diminishing Gene Pool has taken the classic topic of poop and given it a robust treatment, adding a clean spatula and a favorite pot. I am reminded of Kelly at Southern Fried Children. There may be a compilation here. Perhaps I should ask you all to send in your poop stories and we can bundle them into a Kindle single...It obviously deserves its own genre.

Pajama Pants Day I am a bit late on reading this one, but it is still a find. Here is Crack You Whip on weight gain and the appropriate attire for shopping at Wal Mart. If you haven't read Crack You Whip yet, her work is compared to things like Hyperbole & a Half or The Oatmeal. It is graphic and clever humor, the marriage of a traditional blog and a comic strip for adults.

Like Father Like Daughter Josh Weed of The Weed is an old favorite of mine, maybe the second or third blog I ever followed. He is a therapist by trade and this post features a video of his five year-old daughter, obviously preparing to fill her father's professional shoes while interviewing her own mother about childhood trauma. You actually have to watch this. You really do.

Breathings of Your Heart On a more serious note, the talented Amy Morgan of My Writing Corner has written a beautiful piece o n the writing of eulogies for one's parents and oneself.


  1. Love the pics! There comes a time when we all have to taste defeat and move on and it is hard watching our kids go through this (mine seems to taste it more than usual) but it is so good when they have victory in their lives.

    Thanks for the link and the shoutout!

  2. You're very welcome. I love your blog.

    I told Devin, "This is part of being an athlete, too." This coming from a mom who spent PE edging as far off of every field as possible to avoid coming into contact with any balls. Being a very generous child, he still listened and seemed to cheer up. He impresses me, that one.

  3. My youngest plays football, and one year after a winning season he told me he was a "football superstar" just before taking off his shoes and telling me every football superstar deserves a foot rub (and boy does that child have some road kill smelling feet). The next year did not go so well and I know that heartache that fills your soul as you watch them hurt from the disappointment. I too loved the pics.

    1. Having never been an athlete myself, I am grateful for the privilege to go along for the ride. I have learned a lot watching my son do this.

  4. The lettuce looks yummy, zip lining fun, and I agree that comforting younger brothers are harder than many things in life.

    1. Especially much maligned younger brothers such as this. He really tried. He kept saying "Devin, you played well. You were just outmatched." Watching his brother play soccer is one of the only times I know that Rowan really is in his corner.

  5. Tara, So kind of you to mention my post. Love the other links I've found in your weekly wrap up and I am oh, so jealous of your beginning lettuce! Look forward to your weekly wrap up by email notification!

    1. I loved your post. Glad I got to read and hope others will as well. I'm hoping that lettuce won't bolt before I can get a shade cloth over it. If it doesn't, it will be very yummy!

  6. Hearing about your son's team coming in last broke my heart. It has to be hard on someone so young to take a loss. Hell, I am horrible at it as an adult.

    Thank you so much for mentioning my little blog. I did, in fact, play with the Ouija, thought I spoke to a ghost, and my cousin was the one who told me about the homicidal Smurf. The rest was all inspired by far too much caffeine. :)

    1. I think that one of the things that really works about your blog is that it keeps the reader wondering who you really are and what you really mean, how much of what you are saying is true. I think it's a strength because of the talent with which you compose you posts.

      Devin, somehow, came out just fine. He was sobbing and heartbroken one minute and then he just sort of "got it" that it was OK. He had played in the gold bracket, he had played well, and he had years of soccer ahead of him. He seems undamaged in the end. This child has been through five times the disappointments and losses of my other two. I think he is being primed for sainthood.


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