Sporting a big goofy grin the boy turned and said to me “Mama this was fun! Thank you for convincing me to come this morning”.
Over the weekend, the boy and I shared some mother son bonding time, working together at the Cross Country (CC) event sponsored by our parish elementary school. In a former life, I was one of the parents in charge of the Concession area (When the boy participated in the sport) and understood the difficulty in finding volunteers willing to help out. Field marshals get to watch all the races. Concession workers barely see their own children run because it’s difficult finding other parents to take their place during any given race. So finding help for concessions can be very much like pulling teeth. As the boy and I approached the stand I did not see one recognizable face. “Hi, this is my son the boy and I’m Marsha. We’re here to volunteer. I don’t have any racers today, so we’ll be working back here all day…that way you’ll always have coverage during races”. Looking at us quite skeptically, they reluctantly accepted our help.
The boy was in his element. He was funny and engaging people from all walks of life. He quickly won over the hearts of our coworkers too, resembling a carnival barker; calling people over, engaging the younger kids. “How did you run? He asked one youngster who replied “I finished 44th” and lifted his fist to bump and congratulate him adding “Wow, that’s great. When I ran I was never that good, I mean look at me, tall fat kid!” The youngster smiled with him and then departed. “Um you do realize you were quite skinnier when you ran..” I mentioned to him. “Eh, being fat makes a better story Mama.”
Some of the comments we heard were hilarious “Hey Michael how are ya doing?” The boy asked one of his former classmates. “Wow boy, you’ve gotten really tall” Michael said raising his eyes up and down the boy’s frame. “Yes and your still growing I see” the boy retuned laughing as he said it. There were also a few bumpy moments like when he kept saying “JESUS!!” Every time he messed up. Looking over at our parish priest, who also was helping in concessions he tried, “That was a prayer-not a curse…” “Bay, you need to come up with a better word to voice your frustrations” I implored. “I know mama, I’ll try.” Then every once in a while, I would catch him smile as he worked diligently refilling the pop and Gatorade coolers with product. He was happy which made me happy.
When the meet finally came to a close, I handed over my money tool belt saying to the woman in charge “Next year if my daughter does not have a volleyball game at the same time as the meet, I’ll come back and help again. Graciously accepting my offer, she added, “Only if you bring the boy back with you.” To which he replied, “You can count on that!”