It took me months to be able to write these words. Facing the reality felt like my heart ripped from my chest. Do not underestimate the depth to which our children’s team sports affects us all. Life lessons. Community. Struggle. Success. All earned.
The last time I pack and grab my football bag. (I still haven’t unpacked it- all these months later, it sits in a closet a memorial to the boys of fall.)
The last time I draw his football number on my cheek, write it on my wrist under my spirit cuffs.
The last time my heart beats in anticipation, excitement and a little worry-football is a beautifully brutal game.
The last time before a football game that I tell him and then text him- “hit hard, play hard, honor yourself, honor your team, honor your family & honor Him. I’m proud of you. I love you, most.”
The last time sitting in the stands watching my son on the 100 yard field. I remind myself to enjoy the moments. The smell of popcorn. The cheers from the student section. Smiling at locals who’s kids have graduated, whose children aren’t yet in school, whose grandchildren used to go here…as they gather to cheer on these boys of fall.
The last time I watch him don pads and helmet and kneel in quiet prayer in the end zone, sometimes alone, never alone for long.
The last time I see him stand shoulder pad to shoulder pad with his brothers in arms as our national anthem plays.
The last time I watch and cheer him on, for that perfect hit, that wonderful wrap up, that incredible interception.
The last time I will search the scoreboard for his number, for a replay and then I see his Senior profile in the big screen of the scoreboard and I can’t hold back the tears.
The last time I will walk with the crowd of spectators out to and then onto the field for photos.