Yesterday it happened. You threw an interception and your coach sent you off the field. Your Dad had tough words for you and I watched your shoulders slump as you fought back impending tears. When the smoke cleared I walked over next to you and put my arm around your shoulder, like I often do. But instead of falling in, coming closer, you shrugged my arm off, bent down for your water bottle and gave me a side smile and eye that said, “I’ve got this mom. I don’t need you right now.”
In that moment I was equal parts devastated and proud. I am proud that I’m raising a strong and resilient athlete, but I’m devastated that you don’t need ME there by your side.
I’ve spent the better part of the last 8 years pushing you to be assertive and confident. Assuring you that you are capable and strong enough to play with older players and with tougher competition.
It just never dawned on me that one day, yesterday, so soon, you would rise to the level of expectation and be ready to stand on the sidelines alone.
Last night, as I tucked you into bed I said, “I got the feeling that you don’t want me to hug you or comfort you on the sidelines. I’m sorry if I embarrassed you.” And you replied, ” Oh Mom, I still want you to hug me. I just need to focus during the game. I need you to be my soft spot at home. You know, where I can talk to you and lay on you and know you won’t be disappointed.”
So that’s it. My new and ever evolving role as a mother is to be your biggest fan on the field and your soft spot at home. Nothing quite prepares you for the push-pull dance of motherhood but these things I promise you:
I promise not to hug you on the sidelines even though it goes against my every instinct.
I promise I will be your soft spot at home. I will be the person you can vent to about your coach or your teammates; your highlights and your lows; your joys and your fears.
I promise to hold you accountable for your goals and responsibilities. I will shoot hoops or catch balls until you feel confident for your games. I will review words and breakdown equations until you feel prepared for your tests.
I promise to remind you to be kind and humble and strong. I will help you find opportunities to be a leader, even in unpopular circumstances.
I promise to encourage you to live your faith on and off the field.
I promise that I will always be proud that you are my son. No matter the score on the board or the letter on the paper.
I promise I will always be your biggest fan.