Friday, September 27, 2013

Clearer Vision on an Ordinary Night

I did not expect it to happen this way.  And to be honest, I am a little embarrassed.  Maybe being a mom may offer me some sort of pass but that's no excuse for finding myself overwhelmed by a sudden realization that literally brought me to tears.  In public.

Thank goodness for sunglasses.

It began as an ordinary day.  The kids were all at school while I spent the day writing and answering speaker requests.  I made dinner early and packed snacks to bring to the high school soccer game I would attend that afternoon and evening.

Normal. Normal. Normal.

I made it to the games with plenty of time to settle in and chat with the other soccer parents who had gotten there before me.  The JV team took the field and battled through a great game.  It was a gorgeous day. Seriously.  We are in the midst of a week or two of perfect weather.  Warm days, cool nights.  Perfect.  In the stands, we commented on the beautiful sunset that was to come and talked about how glad we were that the sun was about to dip beneath the trees.

When the JV game ended, we settled in for what would be another 2 hours of soccer, this time watching the Varsity players.  My oldest plays for this team and is a junior at the high school.  The team warmed up.  Just before standing for the national anthem, the starting line-up was introduced.  The team, gathered near their bench, huddled together to cheer on each player being called to the center of the field.  I have seen this done a hundred times.  Except, this time was different.  My son's name was called and I saw his blond head running through his team.  He began his run out to meet up with his teammates on the field and in a split second, it happened.  And I never saw it coming.

As he ran forward, the whole of his life passed right before me.  I am not kidding or exaggerating or being dramatic.  I didn't plan it or even think it or know it was coming.  It was an ordinary day and all of a sudden I am crying, in public, because I could see it all.  I could see him starting preschool in his yellow jacket, learning to play soccer with his skinny little legs, pouring over a book with his furrowed brow, laughing in the backyard while our dog licked his face, biking down the street with his hair in the wind, walking confidently across the middle school graduation stage, and heading tentatively into high school on that very first day.  I could see his infant face and his now-grown face and all the ways those faces are exactly the same.  And then, I could feel that it is almost done. I knew, in some deep visceral way, that the number of times I get to do this is getting smaller and that for all the days that raising children feels like a job that I will have forever, this moment was clarifying the truth.  There is an end-game.  And I am standing way too close.

I sat in the stands, choking back tears (as I am doing right now), and praying that no one would see.  I talked myself off the ledge and reasoned that my boy is only a JUNIOR.  I have another whole year on top of the one we just began!  I practiced my Lamaze breathing and dabbed casually at my eyes but I could not look away.  Because there he stood.  Taller than me and standing proudly in the center of a field he knows as well as our own backyard.  There he stood, closer to leaving than staying, far more adult than boy.  How does anyone not cry when you suddenly see the truth?  And when the truth holds so much depth and beauty and history and love, how are we not moved to tears?

On that nearly perfect night, I realized in brand new ways how blessed I am to parent this one good boy.  I realized that it is a gift beyond measure to find yourself sharing your life with teenager that you genuinely love and cannot bear to lose.  I realized that it matters that I pay attention to the absolutely ordinary days because, really, that is what makes up our lives.  And someday, I do not think I will be trying to recall all the big events we lived together as a family as much as I will be holding tight to the wonder that is found on a soccer field in September in the dusk of an ordinary night.

Blessings on your day.  

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