The Olympics has always been something I’ve loved to watch….especially in the first week, when I’m so tired of re-runs and not yet over all the endless coverage. Things for me usually wane a bit in the second week when I’ve used up all my back episodes of International House Hunters (anyone? This show is AWESOME. So much better than the regular one because most of these people have money to spend on a vacation home, which is so much more interesting than watching a young couple spend $75K on a condo in Des Moines). Way back when I was single and living alone in my own house (moment of silence please…….) I would tune in every night and eat cookie dough right out of the tube while I watched these petite gymnasts bounce and twist to gold. And then cry when they got their gold medals. Is there anything better than winning a gold medal? Honestly, the moment when they look up, listening to their national anthem playing for THEM…..ooh, I would just get chills. And then I would take a break from my cookie dough and cry.
Well, that’s all fine and good, but now I’m finding I’m not crying for them. Oh, I’m still crying, but it’s not the look of accomplishment, my fantasized moment of thinking “What if that were me” that sends me over the edge. No, the people I’m crying for now are their parents. Honestly, how could I have missed THIS facet of the experience??? Ya, ya Mr. Phelps, you worked hard, swam a lot of swim meets, won a lot of events, trained hard and yes….good for you. You deserve the medal. But oh my f-ing goodness….to watch his single mother in the stands watching her only son win a gold medal….no, it really doesn’t get any better than that. That is what sends me over the edge….because I can now imagine the huge bubble of pride that would completely overwhelm me if that were my son, the child of my heart up there. Of knowing and loving that human being on such a deep level, of feeling so happy for them that they get this kind of amazing experience. So I guess there’s one more thing that parenthood has changed for me….for the better, in my opinion.