Coach, I Hope Our Son Grows Up to Be Just Like You
When I was pregnant with our son, a friend looked at me and then looked across the collegiate tailgate we were at to my husband and said, “When this baby comes, your love for him will grow in ways you never thought possible.”
I never could have imagined how true those words were; and today when I look at my husband through our son’s eyes I see how blessed we are, even on the toughest days of the season..
I knew this season would be tougher on me than last season for a plethora of reasons.
First of all, we are in a new town farther away from our families than we have ever been. We picked up and moved over 400 miles to help rebuild a program, a special challenge in itself.
Secondly, I no longer had a newborn to tend to at home and in the stands, but a rowdy, independent, off-the-charts 18-month-old to handle. (By the way when I told Coach Dad that his son is literally one of the tallest 18 month olds in the country he beamed with pride, and I could see him mentally updating his toddler’s recruiting profile).
What I wasn’t prepared for was how hard the day-to-day of football season would be on my toddler. I had no idea how much this little boy would already grasp about his Dad’s job and the limited time we would have together this fall.
I also didn’t realize how much my sweet boy would become obsessed with this game called football and more importantly being just like his father.
Some days I have to drive a different route home from daycare because our normal route involves driving right past the practice field at which point I start hearing screams of “FOOT-BALL” from the back seat and then tears of dismay if I don’t pull the car over.
I’ll finally be saved from my son’s attitude a few hours later when dad walks through the door and my child transforms into the most obedient, happy child who has ever lived. His happiness overflows when his dad’s first words to him are, “Go find your football!” and they spend the next ten minutes happily passing, catching, and tackling.
Throughout the week I see my little boy trying his best to be exactly like his Daddy.
On Tuesday nights he doesn’t leave his dad’s side as they walk the sidelines of our junior high feeder schools’ games. Thursday nights are spent in the stands pointing and waving at Dad as we watch one of our sub-varsity teams play.
And Friday, well we all know that Friday’s are magical. Hours are spent in the stands with our coaching family cheering and clapping and dancing with the band until the final buzzer rings out and this little boy runs on the turf at full speed into his Daddy’s outstretched arms. Every week in that moment my heart feels like it could explode, and I thank God for my two greatest blessings.
My son’s desire to be like my husband is a daily reminder that I couldn’t have chosen a better man to live this life with. While there are days that we wish he could spend more time with us, I know that he is gone because he is fulfilling God’s purpose for his life, and one day his son will realize this as well.
Being a coaching family is hard but it is special. If my son grows up to become a man who is: loyal, hardworking, and spends his life serving others, just like his dad, what else could I ask for?
Jessica Toliver is in her 11th year serving as a public school teacher and coach in Texas, and in her 6th season as a coach’s wife. She is a mom to her 18 month old son who said the word “ball” long before “mama”. When the Toliver family is not coaching they like to travel, usually to a sporting event of some kind.