when football is a rocky road

When Football is a Rocky Road

These seasons of our lives are so very hard. The everyday little things stretch us past the role of supermoms and into on-the-edge-of-insanity mom zombies who are really just trying the get through our days.

The trouble is, somehow, it is when we are at the very end of our rapidly-fraying rope that life (and football) decide to teach us the really hard lessons. What is worse is that even at our very best, we wouldn’t have all the answers, but right now?

Right now, I am not at my best, and the text still comes in that says:

– why did this have to happen mom –

I thought about that morning when he reached over me to grab the cereal from on top of the fridge. He is a half-grown man child with feet twice my size. There is a giant human in the place where my toddler used to be. But there are moments, like today, when we both realize that the grown-up world is still so much bigger than he is—days like today when a single text can break a Momma’s heart.

– why did this have to happen mom –

Two nights ago, one of his teammates took an ordinary hit on a routine play and went down. The whole stadium went quiet, and everyone waited and prayed that he would get up. He didn’t.

The pain on that sweet momma’s face as she stood there waiting for her baby to move will break my heart forever. The image of my son carrying his teammate’s helmet and pads off the field as the ambulance sped away is one I will never, ever forget.

– why did this have to happen mom –

Today, his coaches told them of the prognosis. They explained to these grown-looking young men about the very rocky road to recovery that their teammate and friend would have to endure. He walked out of that meeting, and it was me he was looking to for the answer to this big, scary, painful thing the world had just thrown at him.

– why did this have to happen mom –

I didn’t have an answer. I read those words and realized it was my little baby on the other side of it, scared and sad and questioning the really hard parts of life. He’s not processing a broken heart or a minor setback, but a really REALLY hard part of life.

I stared at those words, and my hands went cold. My heart stopped for a second, and I thought. How do I tell him that there isn’t a reason? That things like this just happen sometimes? How do I say to him that the world keeps spinning, even when bad things happen and all you want is for it to stop?

– why did this have to happen mom –

I struggled to find words. I ignored texts coming in about team dinner and dry cleaning and even ignored a phone call from my boss. I needed a minute to step outside of all of those roles I carry and let my heart settle. Even us, the in-season supermom warrior women we are, don’t have all the answers, do we?

– why did this have to happen mom –

I read the text over and over. I typed, I deleted. I typed again. I deleted. I put the phone down. I felt like crying. I thought of that mom and how much my heart hurt for her. I thought of my little boy and all the things I wish this was instead of what it was.

A skinned knee, a broken arm, or literally anything but this. Anything that I could actually make better. That’s when I realized he didn’t want the answer to the question. He just wanted his momma to make it better.

– why did this have to happen mom –

So, the response I finally typed was the answer I had used so many times throughout his life, for skinned knees and wrecked bikes, for stitches and bad days and big moves and all those moments when my little boy just wanted me to make it better-

“Rocky Road or Mint Chocolate Chip for dinner?”

Football broke his heart. Football hurt his buddy. He is angry. He is mad. He is scared. And I am so very tired. But, he will work through this season of hurt in time. His heart will heal. He will learn humility and strength from watching a great young man’s determined recovery. He will learn to cope and learn that laughter through tears is good for the soul. I wish it never happened, but it did. He just needs to know that I am here.

So when we have to travel the “rocky road” in season, just give your heart a moment to settle. You don’t have to have all the answers. The weight of this world can be so very BIG.

Luckily, so is our ice cream scooper.