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Do you remember a time growing up when you made a mistake from which you weren’t sure your pride would be able to fully recover? A mistake that not only embarrassed yourself, but those who counted you?

I remember one. It happened on the softball field when I was in college. In my adulthood looking back, I can appreciate how insignificant it was in the grand scheme of life. But it hurt nonetheless at the time.

I remember it was the final inning and third base was occupied by a player from our in-state rival. I remember a power hitter was up to bat with two outs. That same power hitter did something unexpected…she got under a pitch and popped it up to shallow right center.

I remember we were one out away from sealing a big victory. As I sprinted backwards from my position at second base looking up at the sky to track down the ball, I remember hearing my friend and teammate, the right-fielder, yell for the catch as she raced in towards the lip of the grass. At least I thought she called for the ball.

Although realizing I had just as good of a chance to snag that pop fly as she did, I immediately veered off course to avoid a collision. And that’s when it happened. The ball dropped between us.

Game over.

I saw the look of exasperation on her face. I saw the disappointment in my pitcher’s eyes. I saw the opposite team erupt in celebration.

And I was angry.

Angry at myself for not taking control as an upperclassman. Angry for not finishing a play that we had dedicated countless hours of practice to perfect. Angry that we did everything better than our opponents that game except for one stupid play.

I think back to that moment and often wonder how much worse I would have felt had that mistake been recorded and replayed over and over again for everyone to see. Luckily for me, I competed in a world that was far less technologically connected than the one my kids are expected to navigate.

Sports fans remember certain defining, cringe-worthy moments.

Bill Buckner 1986 World Series Game 6 “Between the Legs”

Chris Webber’s 1993 NCAA Championship “Infamous Timeout”

Fred Brown’s “Inexplicable Pass” to James Worthy in 1982 NCAA Championship

It is probable if you have kids who compete in sports that your son or daughter will be put in the position to single-handedly win or lose their games. And despite the fact that games are won or lost by a series of plays by both teams, fans seem to remember the final plays over everything else.

I challenge adults to think about times when they felt as if they were falling short in some aspect of their life: Struggling to keep their spouse happy; spearheading a work project that resulted in higher costs and fewer profits; failing to deliver upon a promise to their child; gaining too much weight; not taking enough time to rest; the list goes on and on.

It is true what they say: With age comes wisdom. We have the luxury of knowing that storm clouds will eventually pass. Many budding athletes aren’t old enough to have that same level of understanding. Children run the risk of only seeing darkness on auto loop. Errors are broadcast for all to see and mock.

Resist the temptation to only shower love on your child when they succeed and are being glorified.

Resist the temptation to stand across from their opposition in joyous celebration as young heads hang low.

Resist the temptation to immerse yourself too deeply into your child’s life, for it is theirs to live.

Resist the temptation to judge yourself or other parents based on the amount of trophies our kids accumulate.

I am 100% confident that my own children will learn a great deal from their setbacks as I have with mine. Memories will always trump medals in my opinion.

Don’t waste your breath (or dignity) screaming at anyone at your kid’s next competition. This is their book to write. Flip the pages and follow along. Enjoy the story.

Written by Heidi Woodard

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I am parenting three pretty great people at the moment. My boys are ages 12 and 10, and their little sister is 6 years old. I think I’m in a phase where I might be so physically exhausted most days from running around, however, that I’m not exactly giving them my A game. So I decided to write them a letter to explain my current inadequacies and beg for their forgiveness while promising better days to come.

 

Forgive me for my lack of hustle, kids.

Forgive me for my lack of hustle, kids.

October, 2014

Dear Mr. Know-It-All, Mr. Mind Wanderer, and Miss Thang,

Do you remember what it was like when you were young and naive and didn’t put 2-and-2 together that not EVERY mom was as clueless as yours is in the kitchen? The days when frozen snacks like chicken nuggets, pizza rolls, and toaster strudels didn’t seem like a total cop out?

I made a fatal mistake in letting you sleep over at your friends’ houses. I recognize that now. Hindsight is always 20/20. I see that look in your eyes when you return home and try to mask your disappointment, fully cognizant of the fact you will not experience that level of culinary fulfillment until the next invitation is extended.

Cooking frustrates me. Why spend more than one hour on something that A. no one will like, or B. people will like so much that it disappears in 8 minutes flat? It’s like the precious artwork you bring home that you later find in the recycling bin. You pickin up what I’m putting down?

I also feel the need to address your nonstop extracurricular activities. I see the moms of your teammates stand outside in the bitter cold, as daylight is smothered by dusk, watching every practice drill. Me? I often find myself getting lost in cyberspace, taking multiple hits of Vine videos from the comfort of my van. Just like an addict, I sulk a little lower with every passing onlooker. DON’T JUDGE ME.

 

The mom who unplugged, while I watched Vine videos.

The mom who unplugged, while I watched Vine videos.

 

Plus I work a full-time job in insurance. I can’t even begin to explain to you what that means other than by saying it’s like standing in line waiting for the chance to eat your favorite cafeteria food (pizza, french toast sticks, nachos, you get the picture) but the line is 8 hours long. When I get home at the end of my shift, the couch is my favorite cafeteria food. And I am ready to consume it.

I figure I’ve got six to eight years ahead of me before you’re in college and I become the mom of all moms.

My care packages are going to blow your mind. I will have worn dad down by then about all financial matters. After all, he will have put up with me for nearly A QUARTER CENTURY by the time you’re in college.

Since I will no longer have to drive you to anything and can just show up before tip-off, the first pitch, whatever (assuming you’re still playing), I’m going to be that chill mom you always wished for. Balancing a drink in one hand and a hot dog in the other, you won’t even know I’m there.

I’m going to remember what it’s like to hang out with your dad again. You’re going to turn around one day to introduce us to your advisor, and we’ll be pinching each other in awkward places that will make you cringe.

Just you wait. Bonfires will still involve s’mores, but there will be stories that you’ve never heard us tell you before. I will tell you about dad giving me my first wine cooler in his parent’s basement. He will tell you about the book he always wanted to write detailing all of the dumb things I’ve said in total seriousness.

My tears of laughter will morph into tears of sorrow knowing that you are running a pace that I can’t keep up with, yet I am so proud of you for maintaining.

You may strip me of all my energy now, but there is no other way I’d want to spend it.

Love, Mom

Written by Heidi Woodard

Great stuff

February 14, 2013

Yes, this is another love story on Valentine’s Day. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good.

My husband, Ryan, and I attended high school together. I remember catching him staring at me with his mouth slightly open (which I now know is a habit of his and not a sign of interest) in one of the few classes we attended together as underclassmen. You see, I was a straight A student who only took Honors courses and he was, well, I’m not even sure if he was in the right classroom at the time.

We never dated in high school. He was too immature. He had a girlfriend, a cheerleader, and one day they decided to part ways. Subsequent girls liked him, but I was never that enamored by him or his antics. The only thing that impressed me was the way he played basketball.

Standing only 5’10” (5’11” with shoes on he would argue), he could shoot from ridiculous distances and frustrate defenders as they attempted to strip the ball from him. I cheered like a maniac from the student section every time he…eerrrr their team…played. In summary, he was fun to watch but much too cocky for me. Not at all relationship material. Upon graduation, I heard he was heading off to college to play football (typical).

I, on the other hand, was focused. I dated my first real love for 3 out of those 4 years. He was a fellow Honors student. He played soccer, which I never really understood, and had dreams of becoming a doctor. He went off to college and I to another, both having similar goals to succeed. Separate places ended up separating us.

Ryan re-entered my life after the breakup. He and a football teammate of his decided to stop by the campus where I lived and took classes. Fairly confident his buddy was in hot pursuit of a friend-with-benefits (there really is no politically correct way to say that). As a result, I answered the phone when Ryan called from the lobby of my dorm.

That phone call turned into countless more phone calls.

I don’t think we even considered our first date an actual date, more of an opportunity to just hang out. I remember walking out of a movie that we both agreed was awful (To Die For) and ending up on a picnic table talking for hours under the night sky. I kept thinking, “This guy actually has a lot to say. Hhmmm…who knew?”

I remember the moment that he slyly slipped his arm behind me when I sat back to relax. I remember him dropping me back off to the dorm that night. We stood outside as he told me what a great time he had. We agreed to go out again…soon.

And then we kissed for the first time in between nervous bouts of giggling.

I kept wondering how my kiss measured up to the countless others he had. I played it cool as I proceeded to enter the building without looking back at him.

I let out a little scream as the elevator doors closed on my way up to my floor.

I later learned he waited until he was out of sight around the building to run back to his car like a kid hopped up on sugar.

(fast forward many, many years)

He often leaves a comment after my blog posts on momaha.com that simply reads, “Great stuff.”

I couldn’t think of a better way to describe our journey together. Love you babe.

engagement

engagement

Baby #1

Baby #1

Baby #2

Baby #2

Baby #3

Baby #3

Created by Heidi Woodard