Operation Find Self - Part 1

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By high school, Sam had shelves full of trophies from nearly a decade of playing basketball.  It was his sport with a year-round routine that occurred so much that it was ingrained in his being.  In regard to what I’m sharing, at that time of year, his day involved morning power endurance and after school basketball practice.  I was picking him up at the high school gym entrance.  Sam walked to my SUV, opened the front passenger door, climbed in with his tall lankiness and casually tossed his heavy-burdened school bag in the back seat,  It was a routine ingrained into my being as well.  I started the car, put it in drive and Sam buckled his seat belt.  I took off heading out of the school parking lot towards home.  It was sunny and still light out as I recall.  I guess there was more silence in the car than usual as Sam’s first words after we exited the parking lot was, “Did you have a bad day, mom?”  I was caught off-guard by his question so I had to let the question settle a moment.  I remember thinking, it wasn’t a bad day necessarily.  It was a trying day but nothing of the sort that a teen might identify with perhaps.  Yet there was something about me that he was picking up that gave him the idea that I wasn’t my usual self.  I remember thinking how this was a moment to bring Sam into my life and share with him some of my day.  As I started though, I told him “No, it wasn’t a bad day.  I had an unusual day at work.  Let me tell you about it.”  He listened intently; he always did.  He asked a few questions and after I was finished he adjusted his red basketball shorts, pulling them downward at his thighs with his large, thin hands.  Then he started another subject about current events.  He seemed content as he relaxed his posture.  I recall this moment clear as day; I see it visually.  Maybe because not much more than a year later, I knew what a bad day really was.  Sam wasn’t there to tell.