Because I am a lucky duck, I've been able to coach my younger son's Odyssey of the Mind team for the past 6 school years. Their final competition was last month, and yesterday was our final wrap-up party. For several years, one of the families has hosted the team families for a great afternoon full of Indian food and chatter, and I pass out certificates to each of the boys (every year I coach 7 boys; 5 of them have been the same crew since we started when they were in 3rd grade.)
And every year I get a plaque. I can't even tell you how much I love these plaques. I can't even tell you why I love the plaques, but I just do. They adorn the wall in my study, and I may or may not stare at them when I'm supposed to be staring at my computer and writing instead.
This year, since these families are amazing, talented, and kind, they also made me a couple of extremely special gifts.
There's a photo book, with pictures of the teams over the years, and narrative of their tasks and competitions. They also included a DVD of the performances. I keep re-reading it, delighted with this trip down memory lane and all of the unbearable cuteness of the boys getting taller each year, but no less goofy.
And! A couple of the moms made me a gorgeous quilt from the t-shirts of each of the team's 10 competitions. (Right there in the middle - the red one with the Rubik's Cube and the grey one with PacMan - are the first and the last of the tournaments.) It's so pretty and cozy, and while it's currently draped over the futon in my study, it'll end up being dragged all around the house as I curl under it. (Bonus: I have each of these t-shirts and wear them all the time, so odds are good I'll match my quilt.)
Anyway, I'm feeling incredibly cared for, and mainly privileged to have gotten to spend so much time with this funny, sweet, smart group of boys for several years. My son has lovely friends, and as they enter high school, with so many new interests and activities to fill their time, I'm sure they aren't going to miss Odyssey nearly as much as I'm going to miss coaching them.
Today my husband and sons took me to a delicious Mexican lunch, and the boys gave me a card that made me cry, and also cookies and a muffin and a Kiva gift card and time to chill out and write and read and light-refracting glasses and hugs. So all in all: lucky duck.