The letter from Pop Warner arrived nearly a month ago. I had only read the first few lines before drawing conclusions. This served only to hinder any understanding of the 2 page letter and accompanying order form. Dinner would be served: $30+ / adult ticket and $18 / child ticket. I chalked it up as just another money making gimmick for football.
“Pop Warner Scholastic Awards Banquet” was clearly noted at the top of the letter, and the letter had said said that YaYa had been selected to receive an award. I nearly laughed, just like Tom and I laughed when we received the letter from the Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) program a few years ago. It had to be a mistake or some very sick joke.
I thought back to when I 1st registered YaYa for football. I was extremely upset that the league required each registrant to complete an application for scholastic achievement. It was to be submitted along with their report card.
I had so desperately wanted to leave that school year behind us. I’d moved YaYa to a new school where his repeating of 4th grade was to hopefully go unnoticed. His old school had promoted him to 5th grade as he had made huge strides to catch up after the wasted year following his father’s death. The report card alone failed to show the tremendous progress he had made both academically as well as emotionally. All that could be gleaned from it were sub-standard grades.
The form was no better. They didn’t want to know what sports he was in. They wanted to see how he was contributing to his community via volunteerism, and other accomplishments. I begged to be spared this humility. But the form was a requirement so I complied.
It is hard to describe how our whole life’s focus during that time period was dedicated to simply surviving. It was all we could do to get out of bed each morning and move forward with our lives. There wasn’t any time for achievements. We were simply trying to heal from the devastation left behind following my husband’s death.
I don’t recall exactly what I put on the form but I did try to convey the extent that YaYa’s life was impacted. I probably listed his support group, and perhaps I found a few other things to list. But for the life of me, I cannot comprehend how they could have picked him out of the 7,300 applications to honor. And I pray that however they present this award that it is done with sensitivity to all of the pain and suffering that we have tried to put behind us.
I did not get around to asking about the letter until yesterday. I discovered that this is an important event: one that should not be missed. So, I told YaYa about the dinner and asked him to name one person that he would want to join us. He chose L.
As you might imagine, I was a bit torn. I had no problems inviting him, in fact he had come into my mind as well. But I did not want to risk YaYa’s disappointment if I asked him and the answer was no. So I told YaYa that the dinner was pretty expensive and, if it was okay with him, that we would not invite anyone else.
I made the call to L this morning and he accepted YaYa’s invitation. And although I said I would not share my inner-most fears with him, it was important to me to warn L with the what might come out at the event — the condensed version of course.