You guys remember my deficiency in the kitchen, right? I'm not exactly Julia Child. I bowed out and turned over meal preparation to my husband. I hope my sister-in-law remembers this generous act of kindness in my avoiding accidentally killing her with whatever recipe I was bound to screw up.
Next up, there was a call for drivers. This I could do. After all, I was a semi-professional chauffeur given the number of different schools, sports, and instruments I forced upon my kids. So I pulled up one morning to drive my niece Megan, a freshman in high school, to class.
For those unfamiliar with teenagers, conversations with high schoolers usually involve one or two word responses, particularly when said conversations are occurring in the wee hours of the crack of dawn:
Marianne: Hey there, Meg! Sheesh it's cold. Can you believe this weather? I'd better start packing some long underwear and extra hats for the boys! It's like we're living in the tundra.
Megan: Uh huh.
Marianne: Um...so how's school going? Getting straight A's, right? Do you like your classes this year? How about your teachers? Do you have nice teachers?
Marianne: Well then, did you eat breakfast? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day...gets you firing on all four cylinders. Why, starting a day without breakfast is like not filling your lungs with air in the morning, it's just that important!
Megan: Mmm hmm.
As we headed south on I-57 to get to Marian Catholic High School, I suddenly wondered why Megan had chosen the school. With so many options closer to home, why Marian Catholic? And that was when my niece lit up like a Christmas tree. She talked excitedly about the school's fantastic basketball program, coaches, and players.
As a person with limited athleticism and moderate interest in sports, even I could not help but enjoy Megan's obvious love of the game. It was contagious.
That little freshman I drove to school so many years ago is now a senior basketball standout. She also speaks quite well and has dropped the two-syllable responses. Over the last few years, Megan has shown great presence and potential on-court and off. She is also a loving and kind cousin to my boys. But then came this weekend.
Marian Catholic High School won the Illinois State Basketball Championship:
|Photo credit: Mary Walsh|
I stopped watching. My eyes locked on the game clock.
It wound down to zero.
And at that exact same moment, the crowd erupted as one final buzzer-beating shot pushed through.
Being a mom, I of course felt disappointed for the fantastic girls from Rolling Meadows who played with great skill and heart. Yet being a proud aunt, I was delighted to see how one of Megan's earliest "big" decisions, one made at fourteen years of age, had panned out. She could have easily attended Mother McAuley or Marist, the "comfortable" choices. These were the schools where most of her friends were attending. Yet her devotion to her game, her love of her sport, and her desire to win took her somewhere else. Megan chose the road less travelled.
And it has made all the difference.
|Jack's early-morning drawing of his cousin.|
Congrats to Marian Catholic and the only niece I have who I can look to borrow clothes from one day. My heart is still in my throat, but what a ride! Thank you for also teaching my boys where hard work and drive can lead you. You are an inspiration!