This time, everyone knows it is the LAST TIME for some. We all walk slower, taking it in. This last time, I haven’t yet made it to the field as the crowd saunters by looking for their player I turn away from the masses and I catch my breathe- I remind myself, again, it is his LAST TIME, be strong for him.
I watch. We all watch, as these boys, take their last steps on a high school football field. We watch as tears stream down black smudged faces of the young men who just put their bodies on the line, who just played like warriors for their home team. We watch as these teenaged warriors hug, and we watch as they say good-bye to Friday Night Lights for the LAST TIME.
It is the first time I have hugged my son in my arms as he sobs quiet tears, on that 100 yard field, under those Friday Night Lights, his big body enveloped in those pads, but his emotions on his sleeve.
It is the first time I watch him tell me “Momma I’ll see you at home” as he walks away to the 50 yard line, and kneels down, in quiet surrender, saying good-bye to a sport he has loved, a sport that has helped make him into who he is and the man he will become.
I make it to my truck before I break down and sob, ugly tears, and I play the playlist I have compiled for this Last time. The time I watched my baby’s heart break with the knowledge that time goes by, things change and you better make sure you live in the moment. It plays, I cry and I take it all in.
On July 2021, our son was told he’d never play sports again, after an emergency surgery, numerous blood clots and two weeks in Children’s hospital. After watching from the stands as he stood on the sidelines for the entire 2021 season, we were resigned to the idea we had seen him play his last football game. Then 2022- an unexpected full release to play an unexpected move and things fell in place- and he put on those pads, and put on that helmet and we got to live and love every single “last” moment that we didn’t think we’d have, in utter gratefulness.
I wish for all of you- live in those bittersweet moments.