Radley was selected to compete on the UIL Storytelling team at his school. They'd been working on their skills since November and they finally got to compete the second week of school. The week of the competition we talked a lot about how he may or may not make the finals and how he just needed to try his best and be happy with his performance no matter what.
Parents don't go to the meet (is that it's called) so my mind was on him all day and I was just praying that he was happy with himself. That afternoon as I was waiting in the carpool line, I was a ball of nerves. I was proud of him whether or not he won, but I wanted him to be proud of himself.
As I pulled up to that curb, I saw him and he shook his head "no" and I keep that smile on my face.
"I didn't make the finals, Momma."
"Well, that's ok, buddy... did you have fun? Did you try your best?"
"Yes ma'am. Camille Powers made the finals so if it's okay with you, can we still go to the awards ceremony so I can see if she wins?"
"Of course we can."
And that was worth the whole process for me. I am a fan of competition. I think it's important for our kids to learn that they won't always be first, but they can always win. Choosing your attitude, acting with honor, trying your best, being a good sport - as cliche as it sounds - those are what winners are made of and that day, I took home a winner.
Our afternoon was filled with his strategies on how to win next time. What he could improve on, how he thought he could practice more, and what we wanted to try next year. He asked if I had ever competed in any UIL event and I told him in the 7th grade they need someone for DICTIONARY SKILLS (y'all - I had to ask him if he knew what a dictionary was because you know, google. Thankfully, he did.) the morning of the event and that Gigi MADE me go after Mrs. Hawkins called our house.
Which just goes to show that sometimes events aren't really that tough.
And no one cared about DICTIONARY SKILLS.
He ended up getting a ribbon, and while part of me wanted him to go home with nothing more than his pride in competing, he was thrilled with the recognition. I was just proud of the big kid he's becoming and thrilled that he's mine.