I am a first-time football mom.

I am your football mom.

And, tonight, on the eve of your very first game, I have some confessions to make about this past month or so.

The day you started practice, I was scared you would hate it. Not the game itself, but the experience. See, you don’t often venture outside your comfort zone, but that day, you did. I was worried you would dip your toe in the water and recoil . . . and it’d be my fault because I drove you there. But, when you told me you loved it, I almost cried. My boy, finally branching out, felt like such an achievement.

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I hadn’t realized how much of our lives would be consumed by driving. Practice is about 20 minutes each way, and we do it three times a week. But, now that I know, I don’t even mind.

If excitement were a currency, yours would fill my gas tank daily.

A couple of weeks into practice, you received a playbook. I didn’t tell you, but I spent at least an hour that night, looking up football terminology and what each position does. I’m still no expert, but your enthusiasm for learning compels me to feel the same. While other parents can be seen on the sidelines, cheering for their sons, I can be seen Googling things I just heard the coach say.

The first time you got hurt, you were still learning your position. I held back my own tears as I consoled your broken confidence. Your pride was hurt more than your body, and I had to let you learn it would be OK. That day, you learned to pick yourself up. And then, you tried again.

When your team had its first scrimmage, I think I was more nervous than you. With butterflies in my belly, I looked up directions to the field at least once every hour to make sure we wouldn’t be late.

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When it came time to order “spirit wear,” I couldn’t make a choice. Not one T-shirt design on that form could say all the things my heart felt. It took me two weeks, but I finally decided. I hope you see how proud I will look. I chose a matching one for your father, and I suspect his look will be just the same.

I want you to know we are proud of you. Not for playing a game, but for trying something new.

When you set foot on that field tomorrow, you will already be a winner, simply for following through.

We are proud of you for the leaps you have taken and your continued desire to learn.

You’ve become a team player, and it’s truly a delight to watch.

To my first-time football player, on the eve of your very first game . . . 

I want you to know I am proud to be your football mom.

Jennifer Otto

I'm Jennifer. I'm a preschool teacher turned stay-at-home-mom. Yeah - I get it. That statement just screams: 'The Wheels on the Bus' is my anthem. But, I assure you, it's not! I spend my days drinking coffee, cussing out the laundry, and taking care of my four kids. I own a personal blog called, I Wore This Yesterday, where I write about my life. Sometimes I use it to vent about motherhood. Sometimes it's fluffy. Bottom line - I have very little filter and love sharing my highs, lows, and laughs!