Over a salad with friends recently, I shared how my high school graduate, Micah, finished his sports “career.” And so did I. My spectator-mom “career,” that is. As I sipped my tea, I calculated aloud how many years I have lived with bleacher buns: almost twenty-four. Twenty-four years! I almost spit out my tea. One of my friends said, “It’s the end of an era.”
The end of an era, yes.
Our oldest son is 28, and he began soccer at age five. We’ve had short breaks but only a few and not for long. My husband coached most of our boys’ pre-high school teams. It has always been a family affair.
I remember a day when my mother-in-law reflected sentimentally about her days as a spectator mom. As we watched my oldest son Sammy’s little league baseball game, she told me how much she cherished those days and missed them. This memory is crystal clear to me because I could not imagine missing those days. There I sat with three youngsters in tow (one was potty training, and one was a newborn).
Dan and I joke that our boys were raised on the baseball fields. And in part, they were.
I potty trained two in the rec center bathroom next to field 5. I think of it every time I see it. I changed diapers in the stroller, dispensed discipline, fed them meals, and chased after those wild little boys.
Honestly, it is a lot on a mama. Trying to juggle it all and make it all work somehow. There were some Saturdays when I would look at the day’s game schedule and freeze up, wondering how I would get everyone where they needed to be. Chilly nights and hot hot days. Temper tantrums (the boys threw them too), missed naps, missed meals, lost shoes, and a lost mom-brain.
Yet here I sit with the very last game behind me, with a different perspective than those chaotic days.
I am already missing it.
As I grapple with Micah’s graduation, I flitter in a flux of emotions—all the changes and transitions. I am a bit emotionally wrecked and haven’t had time to process it yet. Who am I, apart from my role as mom? As cheerleader and chauffeur, and chief orchestrator of family life?
New roles and opportunities await—a new era for me.
But today, I sit in sentimentality, pondering the finality: the bleachers and comradery with other parents, seeing my handsome sons in their uniforms, cheering them on as they did what they loved. All of their teammates (the add-on boys in my life). The intimate moments of alone time as I drove one of them to practice. Yes, even the chaos and temper tantrums.
My mom-in-law got it right; I will miss and cherish those days: a whirlwind of an era. And I count my blessings.
Thank you, Lord, for the four healthy boys who “played” through my life.