As an eighth grader at a new school, we were pleasantly surprised when he qualified to participate in his school’s bee. The process was different from our past experiences. He initially wasn’t given a list to study from and there were challenges to find this list. Once in his possession, we talked about a possible study schedule but the beauty of his age (now 14), is the responsibility of studying was all his.
Having teenagers has its perks.
It was surreal to watch him up on that stage not only because of the masks and pandemic safety protocol symbolic of the year 2020, but to see and hear him as a nearly grown man with a baritone voice. He seemed to tower over that microphone.
Not so three years ago:
Do moms ever really see their boys as men? I guess I’ll have to wait and find out.
The first rounds crept by but gained speed towards the end. He breezed through each of them and when it hit the top five, I had a feeling he would win the whole thing.
Now, it’s on to county. He’s only mildly happy about that. The competitor in him loves to win, but the teenage boy in him hates to study.
Towards the end of last year, I shared with you my elite status as a spelling bee prep consultant (How Do You Spell Amazing)? There are many things one must do in order to get their clients in fighting form. In addition to being able to read a list of words out loud (gasp!), it is paramount as a consultant to live a varied and rich life. Through your life adventures, it will help expose your clients to words that may have otherwise slipped past them.
Well over a decade ago I must have had a premonition that I would need to grow the vocabulary of my life to further the academic excellence of my children. When Full Speed was 8 months old, Mad Dog and I had our first weekend away. As a mom who struggled with the all-consuming role of caring for an infant, this weekend was a revelation. Simply walking down a hall unencumbered felt foreign and liberating. Getting a chance to eat a meal and engage in an actual conversation warmed the depths of my soul. During this outing, Mad Dog and I also spent some time at our resort’s bar. Having recently stopped breastfeeding, I was happily free to indulge in a glass of wine. I’m not sure if it was the headiness of my new-found (and short-lived) freedom, but that first glass of wine there was transcendent. To this day, I wonder if it actually is as good as I think, or if it simply reminds me of that formative slice in time of being footloose and kid-free. You may wonder where I’m going with this, but you’ll see how it plays out later.
As I continued raising my little family and expanding all of our horizons and vocabulary, I came into my own as a spelling bee prep consultant. The result was Full Speed’s exciting win as a fifth grader and lo and behold, T.Puzzle followed exactly the same path!
So, there I was in the audience, watching my handsome and brave T.Puzzle compete in his school’s spelling bee. Each time it was his turn, I couldn’t even watch him. I stared at the paper list of contestants held tightly in my hands. I proceeded to crumple that paper to shreds as I locked it in a death grip.
The first rounds were easy for the most part, but soon the words took a complicated turn. He hung in there round after round. Then, he got to the word:
Immediately, I relaxed my hands and shot my mother-in-law a huge grin. I knew my baby had it. It wasn’t for the win but I rest assured that he was safe for another round.
‘Conundrum’ happens to be the name of the very wine I drank all those years ago. It remains one of my favorites and has graced our table, our fridge and my outstretched hand on many occasions.
He spelled it without an ounce of hesitation.
As a mom, I pledge to do whatever it takes to help my children succeed.