By nature, I’m really not a very ambitious person. I’m happy to go along to get along, to do just enough to keep up with what’s average and call it good enough. No need to overdo things, right?
Then there’s Marathon. He gets kicks from pushing himself. There’s always something new, always something to understand more deeply, some new way of pushing himself.
Marathon also pushes the kids to work hard and go deep…and I get pulled along too, you know, because I don’t want to miss out and get left behind.
But I am getting left behind as they pass me in height, physical, and yes, even mental strength. And that’s okay. It’s wonderful, really.
But I don’t have to get left completely in the dust, especially with Marathon in my corner. Somehow he knows what I’m capable of, and he believes in me more, I think, than I do myself at times.
Case in point: chemistry. We’re started the Khan Academy chemistry course as a household. Ugh. I really thought I would have had to bail out weeks ago, that it would just be too much to tackle with keeping up with the household and with work obligations. But I decided to try to carve out an hour a day and see if I could hang on.
Yesterday we reached the end of a unit, and Marathon went ahead (so like him) and did the unit test. It took him X minutes, and he told me he thought it would take me about double that. Today I took the test. I didn’t rush. It took me exactly the amount of time he had predicted. The test was nine problems — no multiple choice or matching. It wasn’t easy. I got every single one correct! Moles, balanced equations, limiting reagents — this stuff is sticking to me in my mid-40s!
Another case in point of how Marathon seems to know what I can handle — reverse layups. Do you know what that is? It’s a basketball move where a player moves under the basket and as he passes underneath, he reaches up and lays the ball in. It’s backwards from the “normal” layup. All three of our basketball-playing kids love this move.
Well, as you can imagine, as the kids are getting taller, faster, stronger, it’s getting hard for me to keep up on the court. Doodle can shoot threes, Sudoku “moneybags” is dangerous anywhere within 15 feet of the basket if left unattended, and Rosebud’s ball handling can leave even grown men flummoxed. Where is there room for me?
Usually I just help the kids with their basketball quests as needed, stuff like rebounding for someone’s shooting drills. If I’m not needed, I’ll go and hit a tennis ball until someone works up the teams for a game, and then I’ll typically get matched up against Rosebud.
About a month ago, Marathon encouraged me to start working on reverse layups. He thought having that skill would be a way for me to take a greater part in games.
Ugh. Really? Me? Okay, I’ll give it a shot.
So, I’ve been working under the basket on those neck-tiring shots. And, yes, I’ve been getting better and better.
Today was the day I successfully executed a reverse layup in a game. There were cheers all around, from both teams. I think Marathon was more excited than me. It was also special because Carman had come out to play with us this morning, which is quite rare.
Thanks, dear, for believing I can when I’m not so sure.