It’s Not a Hill, It’s a Mountain

Michele Weldon | October 23, 2009
Michele Weldon stands in her office with all 8,000 pages of her tenure application.

Michele Weldon stands in her office with all 3,000 pages of her tenure application.

My youngest son, Colin, is moving into wrestling season, hoping to make varsity his sophomore year. He weighs about 130 now, is hoping to make 125, but he will go to 199, if Coach Powell needs him to. Colin is eating five to six pieces of fruit a day, lots of fresh vegetables, some grilled chicken or salmon, working out, running, lifting weights and eager to start practice in a few weeks. He is more eager than anxious. But he knows he will be tested.

I delivered my tenure portfolio last week—about 3,000 pages of documentation, plus my three published books. I rolled the stack of binders on a cart to the dean’s office and felt as if I was laying a newborn on the steps of a hospital. And running away. I have to wait to see if it works. I am more anxious than eager.

Last week I delivered two keynotes and a workshop. The first keynote was at the annual dinner of A Safe Place in the northern suburbs. I drove there after work and did my best to deliver a meaningful and compelling speech. I had practiced, I was prepared. I was eager. And it went well.

I flew out Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. to Birmingham, Alabama, where I was the guest of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for two wonderful events. The first was a writing workshop, sponsored in part by the school of journalism and the Women’s Resource Center. I worked hard on my presentation.. That evening I delievered the keynote speech at the domestic violence awareness vigil organized by the Women’s Resource Center. One thousand students and faculty filled the broad lawn at Denny Chimes. I was grateful. I celebrated at dinner with my very first plate of fried green tomatoes.

The next morning at 6 I flew home, went right to my campus, taught class for three hours and came home to do two loads of laundry and make Colin dinner when we talked about my speech and we talked about wrestling.

You can choose to be eager. You can choose to be anxious. Colin amazes me because he is always just eager. He is even tempered, perhaps nervous, but always confident. Sometimes I worry about everything, anxious for the results, sometimes it looks like a mountain when it is only a hill.

This reminds me when Colin was much, much younger and he announced one morning before school, likely the third or fourth grade, that he needed a toga costume that day for class. About 7 a.m. I raced through the house trying my best to improvise before I had to get to work. I came up with a bath towel and a braided rope from the curtains in my bedroom. Colin was happy.

I worried all day he would be the only kid in school with a last minute costume.

“How did today go? Did you feel bad about your costume?” I asked him at dinner. OK, I was projecting.

Colin looked completely perplexed.

“No, Mom, it takes a lot more than what I wear to make me feel bad.”

I think I have done some things quite right.

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Comments (1)
  1. Who says Mom is not the sports fan, mentor and coach of hundreds of thousands of young athletes? The emotions, words and ideas seem different from my Dad’s point of view. Maybe a web series on sports from Mom’s point of view is needed!

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