"The modern Games were created to encourage athletic activity, especially among young people, and to promote friendship, fair play, respect for others and other values."
- IOC president Jacques Rogge
Everyone put on a happy face now. The press is in town. The VIPs have arrived. The athletes are ready to compete. The Olympic cauldron is about to be lit. Let's celebrate.
I mean, c'mon folks, it's really here. After all the words and all the questions and all the initiatives and all the hard work - after all the hand-wringing and all the name-calling and all the false promises and betrayals - the big moment has finally arrived. Let the Games begin!
So why don't I feel more inspired by the spirit of the thing?
As you read this missive, my 16-year-old daughter Jenna is jogging down Vancouver's 41 st Avenue with the Olympic Torch raised high and a huge smile on her lips. Her dad, on the other hand, is most likely leaking tears again. Subtly of course - trying to make it look like I have a bit of dirt in my eye. Or even an ingrown lash. Whatever.
Funny, you know, after all the tears I've shed recently, I'm still not comfortable with crying in public...
But I just can't help myself. To see this strong, hardy teenager participating in such a public event less than a year after her mom was so brutally snatched from our midst takes my breath away. Indeed, it's a tribute to the resilience of youth.
Ask Jenna how she's doing and you'd never guess by her answer the nightmare she's had to endure these last few months. But I know what she's gone through. Know the pain and anguish that she's lived as a result of losing her mother. I know because we had to live it together, side-by-side, as we struggled to pick up the pieces of our shattered lives.
And I can't help but feel great pride in her strength and self-confidence. But that's not really why I'm crying...
While friends and family gather on the side of the road to cheer Jenna on, I will most likely be thinking of the missing piece in our little domestic puzzle. Where's Wendy? Why isn't she here? Those questions keep popping up in my mind with alarming regularity these days.
I can't shake it. She's the one who should be here. She's the one who nurtured the Olympic spirit in our house. I mean, she would be so happy to see her daughter carrying that torch. It would mean so much to her.