Being an aunt is a strange thing. Here are these kids, who belong to your family, the children of your brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, but they’re not really yours to raise or boss around. Aunthood isn’t exactly like grandparenting. But you do get the benefits of someone else’s hard work to raise lovable children, and all you have to do is to enjoy them and bask in their successes (and mourn over their disappointments).
John and I have only two nephews and three nieces, not many for a couple whose families had 11 kids! But because there are just five of them, it has been easy to keep track of them and keep up with their progress.
John’s oldest brother, Lee, married Kathy seven years after our own marriage. They have a girl, Megan, and son, Luke. His youngest brother, Nick, waited forever to find the right girl and he and Lori have Katie, Jenny, and Jason. So our kids are the oldest of the bunch, and Nick and Lori’s are the youngest. And the youngest of their brood is graduating from Winona Senior High School this week.
Jason is going to Mankato State this fall, where his sister Jenny is already a student. He will be playing with the Mankato golf team, which is one of those happy success stories that aunts like to brag about. Jason’s generation of Edstroms have had varying success in athletics. We have gymnasts, tennis players, swimmers, divers, and dabblers. Most of them have hung up their sports shoes after high school or college, and prefer to partake in what people like to call “lifelong” sports – golf, hiking, kayaking, working out, and that sort of thing.
But Jason will be going to the Boys Golf State Tournament, (MSHSL Class AAA) for the first time, thanks to a couple of great rounds at Sections that put him in third place overall. He shot impressive rounds of 75 and 73 (with an eagle!) for an overall 148 at Sections at Bellwood Oaks in Hastings to advance to State, June 12-13 at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids, Minn.
The day before Sections, Jason shot a 63 at the Bridges course in Winona, with a hole-in-one on #17B. He credits that score for adding to his confidence going into the tournament. He says his experience in previous tournament play helped him figure out what had to be done to win. And, he says, the win was “long overdue.”
It’s serendipity that Jason qualifies for State in his senior year. Previous years have been full of health problems and leg surgeries, and each surgery has taken Jason out of the running. As his mother, Lori, says, “Every year it’s been ‘Wait ‘til next year, when you don’t need surgery,’ and until this year, he’s been recovering from surgery.”
We’ve been proud of Jason that he hasn’t let his surgeries get to him, as some kids would have. Some would have quit, or gone into a funk. But Jason has remained upbeat, hopeful, and worked hard to recondition himself to get back in the game. I know how I am after orthopedic surgery, and I know how difficult that is to do.
Now I’ll really embarrass him. Not only is he a talented golfer, but he’s a good student, and a really nice kid.
Jason says the win didn’t sink in right away, but now it has, and he’s going on to State full of confidence, at the top of his game, and is hoping to play well. “There’s nothing to fear!” he says.
It’s disappointing that the entire WSHS team didn’t make it to State — they placed 4th) but competition is pretty brutal. And, there’s “always next year,” which isn’t a stretch with all the talent they have (watch juniors Logan Ellinghuysen, who shot 155 at Sections, and William Leaf, who shot 157. A passel of other great golfers are coming up, too.
Congratulations Jason, Happy Graduation, and Good Shooting!!