Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Dear Fellow Mom,
I saw your post today about your son’s torn ACL. I am sure that you are both devastated with the news from the doctor. Six months is a very long time to be away from sports, especially with this being his senior year. I know that you have both looked forward to this year for a long time.
As his mom, you probably dreamed about this while you were rocking him to sleep 17 years ago. I’ll bet he had a little football uniform, the kind they make for toddlers, with the helmet and shoulder pads. He probably wore it to all of the hometown football games and on Husker Saturdays. Chances are, he learned about the laces on the pigskin before he learned to tie the laces on his shoes. And how many times did he say he wanted to dress up like a football player for Halloween? You knew that someday he would play high school football, running in touchdowns, getting the tackle, and you loved hearing his name announced under the Friday night lights.
I’ll bet you are thinking of last season right now. All the games he got to play in, on both sides of the ball. Holding your breath each time he was tackled and just hoping that he would get back up. And he always did. No doubt, you were filled with pride the day the newspaper published the all-conference team and his name was among those listed. And do you remember the last game of his junior season? You probably have the photograph in a frame. His uniform is grass-stained, and his smile is as wide as the field, as he stands next to his grandparents, parents, uncle and nephew. No one can ever take those memories away from you.
I know this probably won’t give you much comfort, but I can relate. I, too, watched my son’s senior sports season disappear right before my eyes. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way, but it did. So when I saw your post on Facebook today, part of me wanted to give you a tender hug. But the other part of me, and you’ll have to forgive me for being blunt, wanted to scream at you.
Your child will heal. Mine won’t. Your child will slowly begin walking again. Mine won’t. Your child will eventually play football again, even if it is just in the front yard or for a college intramural team. Mine won’t.
Life is not fair. We have both learned that through our boys and the terrible injuries they have sustained. But we both need to remember, that there are other moms out there that would be ashamed of both of us. Moms that would give anything to have a son in a knee brace, or on crutches, or in a wheelchair. Moms that would just love to have their sons back, with or without the senior sports season.
Please know that I am not saying these things to get your sympathy, or to make you feel that what your child is going through is not worthy of sadness or heartache. I thank God everyday for the wonderful things He has done in my life. He allowed my son to survive his accident, to finish school, to maintain a positive attitude, to begin college, and to pursue adaptive sports. Of course I wish my son had gotten a chance to play football his senior year, and so will you. But we should be giving thanks for the opportunities that they got to have on the field before their injuries, and for the opportunities off the field that are yet to come.
I hope you consider changing your Facebook post. Saying that, “my son’s life is ruined” sounds so hopeless, especially when the word ‘life’ is such a wonderful thing. I happen to know a mom whose son’s life was cut short during his senior year. She didn’t get to take him to physical therapy appointments or try to schedule his surgery over fall break. She didn’t get the chance to address graduation announcements or proofread college scholarship applications. His life was taken, much too soon, and that certainly wasn’t fair.
I know that this is probably not what you want to hear, but sometimes you need to be reminded to count your blessings, not the rushing yards or the points on the scoreboard. He will heal and you will get through this. Our boys will get to tell stories of their days on the gridiron. We are the lucky ones.
A Fellow Mom