Newspaper Writing, Opinion

Bouncing Back Memories

bouncing backPublished May 2015: The Messenger – Faith: A Fresh Take

Bouncing Back Memories

It was a grueling game of one-on-one basketball. The ball swooshed into the basket once and then twice and even though the rebounds bounced on a driveway instead of a court, the sound of the crowd cheering and chanting could be heard. Except, it wasn’t a crowd. It was a 40-year old mom pretending thousands of fans were cheering her on as she gained points on her 14-year old son who for 30 minutes, gave her his time, his laughter, his competitive spirit and a rigorous workout.

In reality, the crowd was nowhere to be found, but as my son scored his last basket in the driveway this evening, I couldn’t help but feel like I had won. He seemed pleased with himself for the 10-point lead and even my insistence that hugging him while blocking a shot was not a foul, he didn’t seem irritated with me … for once.

It was a rare moment. On most days, I’m lucky to get a grunt from my quiet, moody teenagers. They retreat to their rooms after dinner, only coming down to remind me that they need lunch money or a PE uniform washed by the next morning. When I inquire about their day, they seem irritated with me, even bothered at times.

At first, I took it personally. I mean, I’m cool, right? I know all the lyrics to the Top 40 songs on the radio and I have no problem singing loud and proud in the car. Then I realized that maybe, just maybe, no matter what I know or who I am, they are going to be annoyed with me because, I’m the parent. I’m mom. I’m not cool in their eyes.

And, they are teenagers.

So, I’ve learned to stay involved and I continue to ask questions, but I’m trying not to invade their privacy, their time and their definition of cool. I still demand we have family dinners and that we say good morning and good night. But, I don’t force them to spend time with me, as much as I want to.

When we returned from dinner tonight, I fully expected my son to join the neighborhood kids down the street in a game of basketball or retreat to his room and close the door. But instead, when I grabbed the basketball and made a few lousy shots, he joined me, challenged me to a game and proceeded to give me just enough of a lead to build my confidence and then ultimately smash out a 10 point lead to a hearty win.

I didn’t question why he chose to play basketball in the driveway with his mom. I didn’t embarrass him by singing along to the music playing. And, I didn’t beg him to play a game with me every night. Instead, I soaked in the time he was giving me, cherished it and prayed that time would stand still. The game did end, but the memories never will.

— Shannon Philpott

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