November 26, 2014: Joy

My kids are so different. By now my oldest son has viewed the above picture and is rolling his eyes. Although Zach is a man of few words, I know what he is thinking.

"Time to close the yearbook."

Ben holds on. Zach moves on. And Grant is now smack dab in the moment.

As I drove home from work yesterday, I watched the sun set on a cool fall night and remembered the same drive a year ago. Instead I was driving to my son's state championship football game in Lincoln.

Fast forward a year, Ben is now graduated and in college. And Skutt is back in Lincoln, playing for a back-to-back state championship.

I teared up as I drove. Great memories poured into my mind and into my heart. No doubt it was a memorable night.

Now that I can reflect on a win and a great night, I can also share a personal confession.

I was not the good mother cheering from the stands. Instead I sat in the bathroom and paced the interior halls by the concession stands during the entire first half of the football game. My son was gracing the field of Memorial Stadium. A high school boy's dream. And his mother couldn't find the nerve to watch.

As I sat in a bathroom stall gripping my scapular (prayer rope), I got a text from Garrett.

"Great interception, Ben!!!!"

I excitedly responded, thanking him for the news. Confused, Garrett inquired why I didn't see it.

"I'm in a bathroom stall" was my response.

"NOOOOO....go watch the game" prodded my soon-to-be husband.

But I couldn't do it. I was too nervous and a believer in karma. Skutt was ahead. Re-entry into the stadium stands could potentially throw the game. So I paced by the concession stands and I watched on the strategically placed television screens. And Skutt continued to dominate.

By half-time, my nerves were calmed. I felt safe to join the Skutt crowd. And then we won. Tears and hugs filled with joy followed and were abound in the stands and on the field. Although I wasn't physically participating in the first half of the game, I felt that the contributed karma from my clinched scapula and pacing the innards of Memorial Stadium had paid off.

Fast forward a year. You now have my first confession from last year. All sugar-coating aside, I spent the first half of my son's state championship game hiding in the bathroom and hanging with the concession stand workers.

Today's confession is that I cried a bit as I remembered the game. And the tears weren't from the small bit of the game that I saw live, it's what I saw after. The joy of the win. Watching my son, his coaches, and teammates sharing this moment was unforgettable.

As drove I home yesterday, cherishing this memory with welled up eyes, I called Ben. As any good mother would, I wanted to share with him my reliving of the moment and to tell him I was tearful.

"Why are you crying, Mom? Are you sad?" asked my college son, now eons away from his high school years.

What I told him was the truth. And it was far from sad. My tears were happy.

As I reflected on that glorious night, I remembered a full heart bursting with happiness. I watched my son and his team feel immense joy. There is no better feeling as a parent than to watch your child experience joy...raw, pure, beautiful joy.

That was it. That was how I felt. My tears stemmed from knowing Ben would have this memory forever. And that made me very happy.

Whether reward for hard work or the joy of unconditional love from a soul mate, a parent's heart fills watching our children experience happiness and joy. When it is earned with their dedication and hard work, it is simply bliss. 

So that's what I told Ben. I was tearful in remembering that happy time, knowing that he would cherish that win and that memory forever.

His answer to me...

"Mom, I think Grant's team is good enough to make it to state his senior year. Just think, you can do it all over again in three years and Grant can win a championship too!"

Close the yearbook or not, I do love this kid's positivity. Yes, Ben, I wish for Grant the same joyful experience. And next time I will try to sit in the stands and stay out of the bathroom for the first half. But the prayer ropes will definitely stay in my pocket.

(And a big congrats to the Skutt Skyhawks for another state championship win this year. I KNOW your parents are sharing in your joy with you :))

Text exchange with Ben the day after state


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