Adventures of the State Speech Competition

I have to beam and boast a little because I’m his mommy.  I watched, listened, and helped him practice his passage for months, saw him win first prize in the regional fine arts competition, and just witnessed his efforts this morning in the state event.  Third place for our dear boy!  I could tell he was disappointed that he hadn’t gotten first place, but he did a wonderful job nonetheless.  We are so proud of him for using his gifts this way.

Our trip across the state for this competition was event-filled in itself.  We drove right through the Florida Everglades, which means almost two hours of marshy scenery.  I hoped we might catch a glimpse of a gator, large bird, or even a snake as we drove, but then I remembered we see those pretty regularly by the lake behind our house!  I confess I wasn’t as taken in by the beauty of the drive since I was at the steering wheel and was more focused on staying close to our schedule.

Soon after we passed through the Everglades, we made our way to the house of a childhood friend of mine.  We reconnected via Facebook a few years ago after having not seen each other since the middle of high school.  We are both wives and moms now, and it was really neat seeing our kids meet each other and play, and getting to catch up in person.  At the end of our visit, we discovered that my son and her daughters were a little apprehensive about playing together before they met, but one wouldn’t have guessed it during our visit.  All of them were such fans of “Star Wars” that a few light sabers broke the ice!

My parents joined us on this trip, especially since V couldn’t go–it was his last week of work at the practice before he starts in our new location next month!  Timing stinks sometimes.  Having my parents along is always a tremendous blessing to the kids and me, in so many ways.

By the time we got to the hotel, we had to hurry up to get the kids ready for bed.  I wanted to give L every possible advantage to do his best in the morning.  We tucked him in out on the fold-out sofa in the hotel room, while I got A snuggled into the bed I would share with her.  Everyone was cozy and sound asleep pretty quickly.  I had a bad headache and planned to go to bed right after ironing all our dressy clothes for the next day.  Just as I was finishing the last garment, the fire alarm started going off.  My initial fear was that I had triggered the alarm with my ironing, but I soon realized that made no sense since there was a tiny bit of steam and no sign of smoke or flame.

I moved quickly and picked up little A, who was in a tight little ball of delicious slumber.  I wrapped her in a blanket and woke up L, telling him to get his shoes on.  He obeyed, though he was very disoriented.  We scurried down the hall to my parents’ room.  As soon as we entered their room, my mom was ending her call to the front desk of the hotel:  false alarm.  I’m glad it was a false alarm and not a true emergency, but I was certainly not happy about this disruption in our night.  The second glitch:  in my haste to evacuate the room, I had left my room key on the desk in the room.  My dad, the only one not yet in pajamas, went to the front desk to acquire another key for me.  Thanks, Dad.

Back to bed the children went, and I decided 10:00 was plenty late enough for me, so I closed my eyes next to little A, who thankfully was settling back down quickly.  I had just gotten into a good sleep when I woke up to see L staring at me, next to the bed.  “I’m just so worried about that alarm going off again,” he said.  Too tired to say or do anything else, I told him to climb aboard the family bed, next to his sister.  We all had a moderately good night of sleep, but I woke up a lot, still with the headache and always with one child or the other looking back at me!

L’s recitation of his passage ended up being the easiest part of the whole trip.  He had been preparing for months.  I guess that’s how life is–some things, we get to prepare for ahead of time, and other things, we just have to take as they come.  How we handle the seemingly small, everyday things, often has a large bearing on how we handle the unexpected things, though.

Not all unexpected things are bad, either.  Once we were home and had gotten word from a friend still at the event site that L had won third place, I was able to truly enjoy all the pride and joy I felt about L’s performance.  I was beaming.  Then, one of those really good unexpected moments happened.  As I was cleaning up after dinner, A asked L to read to her.  I looked out into the family room and saw their two little heads over the top of the sofa.  I heard him reading a “Fancy Nancy” story to her, with expression–just as he had recited his piece at the competition.  I’m so glad there are surprises in life, and sibling moments like these are among the best kind.  Third place in a state event is superb, but loving his sister gets the blue ribbon in my book.



  1. Congrats L! God is good and does work all things out for HIS Glory. Thanks for HIS Grace and Mercy the trip to and from was worth it. There were lessons learned from meeting with friends, false alarm, and siblings quality time. Be Blessed, Mtetar

    1. Thank you! This travel-weary mommy is heading to bed immediately!

      1. You’re welcome, Mtetar

  2. Congratulations to your son for excelling in the competition and as a big brother! 🙂

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    1. Thank you! Of course they are still learning as they go (aren’t we all??), but those moments are wonderful.

  3. Oh Alison, that is so wonderful! I am so happy for your son and yes, that moment with him and his sister is one of the biggest blessings of all!

    1. Thank you!

  4. Hi Alison. Congratulations to L! Very well done!

    1. Thank you! It is a joy to watch him flourish!

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