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Gotta Be Game

My teens haven’t had many opportunities for extracurricular enrichment. As a single parent, money has often been tight, preventing me from sending them off to summer camps or on fun adventures. As the sole provider in a small service business, I’ve needed to work evenings/weekends for years, preventing me from taking them to sports practices or extra classes.

So when Josh qualified to attend a weeklong leadership conference in Kentucky, and the school helped the kids to fundraise all of the expenses, my heart exploded for him.

But when I learned that parents were invited to attend the final night’s awards ceremony, I balked.

“I wish I could go, but it’s impossible.”

Gerry, whose mom taught him early on that you’ve gotta be “game” for life’s opportunities, was quick to ask why.

“I’d have to close the clinic.”

“It’s the summer slowdown. You can close for one day.”

“I can’t drive that far in one day.”

“I’ll come along and share the drive w/you.”

“There aren’t any hotel rooms even left in Louisville.”

“Here’s one just outside of the city. We can check-in on our drive out.”

“We are doing *so much* this summer. I’m not sure another trip is really in my budget.”

“I’ll spring for the hotel.”

“I don’t know.”

“You can wait until the last minute to decide. Think about it.”

I left Frederick as the sun rose.

Racing west, we stopped at an Amish shop in WV and found cheese curds (the first I’ve seen since leaving WI!). We drove thru Hurricane Cindy’s inland storms. We listened to playlists G had put together for our road trip. We made note of the places we wanted to see on our return trip home. And we arrived in our seats shortly before the ceremony began. Soaking wet. Exhausted. Excited.

Josh walked into the Expo Center just minutes after we did. He happened to sit a few rows above us, in a crowd of six thousand people. We texted throughout the event. He and his two teammates placed 7th in the nation for their presentation on Art & Communication in the Architecture Industry.

All my life, I would’ve regretted not going.

On our (much more sane) drive back, we visited a distillery for a tour and tasting. We sampled bourbon chocolates. We petted “Thunder,” a buffalo carved from the trunk of a 300-year-old tree. We wandered thru used book stores and antique shops, where I found the exact lunch box that I’d used in first grade (don’t ask me what it’s worth today). We cashed in a gift certificate at a winery/restaurant, and we enjoyed our dinner as the sun set slowly over the mountains.

I’m ever grateful for life’s reminders to be “game” for the “impossible.”

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