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The closing ceremony and why we cry

Elizabeth Chicoine

The bittersweet ending to the Olympic games had arrived. School started the next day for my first-grade son. When bedtime approached, his eyes flooded with tears. Leaping toward “motherly conclusions,” my mind convinced me that he was lamenting summer and the rights of first grade were intruding. Not at allit turns out that he was weeping the end of the Summer Olympics in Athens. “Mommy, why do we have to wait two more years to see the Winter Olympics?”The handkerchiefs handed out at the closing ceremony were needed in my home tonight. The passage of the Olympics was a symbol of time to my son. He understood the grandeur, the elite status, and the cooperative spirit of what the games symbolized. To all good things, must come an end. Ahthe time spent in mommy and daddy’s arms while discussing athletes, history and geography this past month had been amazing. Perhaps my son was telling us how special indeed this summer was to him.We all painted a metaphorical summer canvas. Our son’s included water skiing on the Mississippi River and then returning home that evening to watch Phelps and Crocker battle it out for Olympic Gold. My son’s “painting” included him in the water with these champions. Goals were instilled in him, dreams were being made. As a family, cousins had that rare summer evening, free of homework, football, cheerleading, soccer, piano, voice lessons, etc., to actually play hard and watch elite athletes compete, all in one day. It was poetic. It was summer. Rejoice!To Greece, I tip my hat. I loved the Greek Wedding Ceremony Danceto celebrate the Big Fat Greek Wedding Traditions don’t we all love LOVE? Harmony is what keeps our world in sync, and this dance so graciously celebrated love and the never-ending spirit of Greece.So as my son now watched me weep a bit at the closing ceremonies, did he truly know why I wept? No, it had nothing to do with the Olympic games. The tears flowed from the Greek Wedding Dance and the allegory of love. Already moved emotionally, I transcended to personal reflections of loveon an Olympic Level.Sport, athleticism, the visceral feeling of survival is an emotional trigger for us all. To make the best of our lives, our gifts, our losses, is to be a champion. Perhaps that is to be an Olympian in life. I wiped my eyes and simply agreed with my son. It was a bit sad to see the Olympic Games end that night. But tomorrow would come, and we would have much excitement with the beginning of school.I retreated to my room and allowed those reflections of the Greek Wedding Dance to come alive again. The greatest love story of all time began to play out in my mind that of my sister. It is very difficult to tell great stories of love in such few words, but I am inspired by the love shown at the Olympics, so here is my story of love:My sister was married to Ken. He fished, skied, and taught us all about huckleberries. Doing what he loved, working for the Intermountain Forest Industry, Ken died in a single-engine plane crash while surveying the vast beauty of Montana. In just seconds, life for my sister changed; indefinable pain grasped her every breath.But in the bizarre tradition that only weddings can offer, my husband and I somehow were married as planned, just one week after Ken’s death. The glorious power of love told us that this was the right thing to do. We all kept loving, honoring, and living.Two years passed. My sister met David. He was working for a Fortune 500 Company. He was also my sister’s arranged ride from the airport in Phoenix to a much-needed family escape with her three children. By the way, my oldest brother arranged “the ride.” You see, David was our next-door neighbor growing up in Bettendorf, Iowa (and Iowa loyalty runs deep). David played tailback for the football team and my brother was quarterback. Almost unable to pick up my sister due to last minute changes that can haunt busy executives, David did manage to get to the airport to help his old football buddy from the neighborhood. Little did he know that this goodwill would lead to such pure joy.The adage, love at first sight, instantly took over at the airport gate. The opening ceremonies for the next, “Olympic Games of Love” had begun. My sister, David, and the three kids all embarked upon their never-ending story. The emotion of their love overtakes my mind at unexpected times, such as tonight when watching the closing ceremonies of the real Olympic Games in Athens.The torch has been put out. But it will be lit again. All of us will train, wait, and live until again that moment of peace, harmony and perfection of life is revisited. Soak it all up. Dreams do come truesometimes even twice in a lifetime. VTEdwards resident Elizabeth Chicoine writes about matters of the family for the Vail Trail. She can be reached for comment at echicoine@centurytel.net.


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