Saturday, May 27, 2017

Football with Momma

Tonight, I had the pleasure of escorting my soon-to-be kindergarten graduate to a football game- a privilege he earned for perfect attendance at school this year.

I'll be honest. I accepted the tickets out of pride on his behalf, but the closer to the game we got, the less excited I was getting. I didn't really know why, but I just wasn't really excited about it.

I wasn't going to let that stop me, however, and I surprised him with the knowledge that we were going to his "first" "real" football game. (He actually attended a game for this team as an infant but we decided it didn't count, as he doesn't remember it.)

As we drove to the game, it started to dawn on me why it was I wasn't looking forward to it as I thought I would. We drove by his dad's place of employment, where he was working at the time, and it hit me that somewhere, deep down, I imagined this would be an activity that the two of them would do together, not me. Because, stereotypically, it's a guy thing. His dad certainly enjoys the game more than I, not that I dislike football. I've just never felt a connection to a specific team outside of my high school and don't follow it as a hobby.

So, I think, part of me was sad for my son that he was "stuck" going with his mom.

Silly me.

It didn't take long after arriving for me to realize that was just in my head and my son didn't feel that way. He was thrilled to just be going to a football game, and he was overjoyed that I was with him. In fact, while he asked if he could sit next to some of his friends from daycare, and I said yes, knowing I could sit there alone, but it wasn't minutes later that he was back up in our row, by my side, chatting away about the game that was about to happen.

He had so many questions about the game.

And wouldn't you probably expect it, but I had answers.

Sure, I'm not a football expert by any means but it turns out- I know enough. 

And, since I know him best, I was able to answer his (countless) questions in ways he understood easily, or clarify if he didn't understand.

And a bonus- I was able to relate quite a bit of the football knowledge and rules to our lives.

Why is it so hard to score points? Because there are a lot of people coming after and trying to stop you, blocking you and trying to pull you down. Just like sometimes it is hard for us to accomplish what we want to, because there are blockages or troubles or things in our way or people trying to keep us from our goals. But, they keep on trying until the time is up, and they get multiples tries each turn, like we can.

Why is there a halftime? Because they need a little break to rest and refuel before continuing. Kind of like when we take naps, or quiet time at home.

Oh, that penalty flag for holding? Yeah, that's like when you and your brother were pulling on and  hit each other in the daycare vestibule, and just like you had the consequence of no tablet or Wii time that night, they had a yardage penalty. Maybe it was not planned or unintentional, but it happened.

Oh, the out of bounds? Yeah. They can't play there, just like when I say you can't play in the parking lot or the street.

Why do they wear helmets? To protect their heads, like your bike helmet. Remember, the head you have now is the only one you get so you have to treat it well, just like I tell your brother 32 times a week. 

Why are their uniforms red? Because it's a great color.

Momma win, right?

And, he thought it was super cool that his mom knew so much about football. 

I loved every minute of the night with him. He had the most intense expressions during the game (he doesn't get that from me, but I embraced it) and had the loudest, delighted squeals when our team did great plays.

And when the Kiss Cam came on? He kissed me, over and over every time someone on the screen kissed the person they were with.

Yup, momma scored kisses in public.

Guess he's not too cool for that, or maybe, I'm just too cool to not be kissed.

Either way. He didn't need football with a guy. He has me.

I'm so glad I realized that in time to enjoy the night, instead of how I felt driving to the game.

Friday, May 19, 2017

My second little Graduate

Dearest Collin,

Tonight, as your brother did a year ago, you celebrated your very first graduation.  You did it all in your own very unique style, with a lot of flair.  It's amazing how sometimes you can be so much like your big brother, and then other times, it's like you are complete opposites.

Because of your very special birthday being on the last possible day to go to kindergarten next year, you were not only the youngest in your class, but one of the shortest and spunkiest.   From the moment you walked into the sanctuary at church, you captured the attention.  My heart about exploded while you stood up in front proclaiming "I love you, Mama" in front of everyone, even if you were talking over the person who was trying to speak to the crowd.

Uncle Jesse, Auntie Sam, and Belinda all joined in the celebration tonight, and you were delighted to have them there to celebrate. You waved enthusiastically at both of your siblings, who were excited to watch you perform.  And... perform you did.  You were the loudest, busiest one in the group.  I wasn't surprised, and I was trying to hard not to stress out about the fact that you might have yelled at a couple people because you've definitely got a firecracker spirit and a mind of your own.

Your brother kept telling me how funny you were. Your sister kept telling me how awesome you were.  And everyone knew you were ours.

You knew all the words, and so long as your tassle and your sash were on properly, you sang your little heart out and did explosive actions.

You were thrilled when you received your diploma and went running to hug your teacher.

Thank you for the goofy, joy-filled memories.

We are so proud of you.  You've got big things ahead of you.  I know sometimes, I wonder if you're listening or paying attention, but you prove time and time again that you are.  You take after me in that you've got a vast expanse of trivia-type knowledge.  You love the sea, shapes, colors, automobiles.  You are stubborn though, so I never quite know what you know, because you only want to share on your own terms.  Remember when I asked if you could write a 'C' and you said yes?  I asked you to show me, you wrote an 'X' and I asked why.   You said "Because I wanted to write an X, not a C."

That's how you roll, Ollie Bear.

I'm a little nervous for you to become a big boy and join the realms of elementary school. I worry that your temper may get the best of you, and your teachers might be a little overwhelmed.  I hope they can give you hugs if you need, like your preschool teachers have learned to do.  It almost always diffuses the situation and brings you back down to earth.

I know you're excited to go to school like your brother, and I know you'll love learning there too.

You've grown up so fast.  I can hardly believe it.  You're a graduate.

I love you, Ollie Bear.  Thanks for all the joy you bring to my life, for teaching me unending patience and strength, and for not being ashamed to proclaim you love me, even when it's not perfect timing for the rest of the world.  I'll never grow tired of hearing it.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I love them to tears.

Every so often, I'm laying in bed, and it overwhelms me like a flood...

Just how much I love my children.

These three precious littles, all born within 4.5 years, who have stolen my heart from the moment I knew they existed, cause my love to deepen more each passing day.

Some days, yes, I struggle. I am not always as grateful as I should be to be entrusted with their lives. I admit it. I have faults.

But, I am always appreciative that they are mine.

Some days are tough. They bicker or cause chaos. They exhaust me. 

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

I lay in the dark tonight overwhelmed with my love for them. I soaked my pillow with tears of joy as my heart aches to hear their laughter while also willing them to sleep soundly all night so I have some moments of silence.

The glimmer in their eyes as they proclaim their love for me is etched into my memory as I hear the faint echoes of their voices from the day we spent together.

For better or worse, God has entrusted me to be their mother. He has called me to lead them to Him. It's a joyfully bewildering realization as I daily question my strength, patience, and wisdom to do so.

I fall short sometimes, and I pray that they have the grace to forgive me, just as I pray for the grace to forgive them when they choose to wander from my guidance.   God always forgives me, I always forgive them, and I can only hope that the example is clear.

Sometimes, I want a few minutes of personal space. Other times, I wish I could cuddle all three of them forever.

What a beautiful burden it is to live in paradoxical days like this.

With this love so deep, so fierce, and so overwhelming, I pray they never believe for a minute I feel anything less than pure agape (love).