I am sitting here watching the epic movie Remember the Titans with my boys and I start feeling the pulling of my heartstrings. Yes, the movie invokes an emotional response. But that’s not it. This is bigger. This is personal.
It is now fall, when normally we would be in the middle of football season. I would be knee-deep every day in shoulder pads and helmets. I’d be picking turf out of my socks and scrubbing grass stains out of pants. I’d have to run to the sporting store at least twice a month and laundry loads would double. Our already plentiful prayers would include detailed renditions of the Hail Mary. Life in the fall is hectic and messy; it encompasses all I love and cherish.
But not this year.
This fall has been unnervingly quiet. School is only in session two days a week. Specific sports, including football, have been canceled. The feeling of depression lingers in the air. Through everything I have lost in 2020, losing my sports mom status hurts the most today.
My boys have not played sports since March. Typically, they play three seasons of sports, sometimes four. I see the impact this has on them. I notice their frustration and sadness. Sometimes I catch one of them just looking at the equipment, taking up space in the garage. It’s as if he looks at long enough, he can will something to happen. Their loss saddens me and even angers me. After years of working so hard, all the practicing, playing, injuries, wins, losses, tears, and laughter, why is this happening?
Why is this happening? The question we have all been asking this year.
The incredible losses, the changes, life disruptions, civil unrest, and obscene amount of hatred. All these unparalleled experiences and yet, today, I just long to be a sports mom again.
There is no bigger thrill than cheering from the bleachers as I watch my boys run onto the field. My chest swells with pride as the American flag waves behind them and even though they sing the National Anthem at each game, I always choke back tears. Even now I can feel the excitement of following them up and down the field. The tackles, sacks, and fumbles. Praying on the sideline. Relishing the wins. Learning from the losses.
I am desperately missing the joy of watching them pump each other up and support each other when they are down. I miss the high fives, the chest bumps, the yelling, the laughter, and the tears. I miss watching the bonds the teammates create through the season and the obstacles they make it through together. I miss seeing their plays come together effortlessly on the field, the coaches praising them like no one else can and the stadium going wild. And I really, really miss the Sundays of fall.
My boys are strong, they are smart and resilient. They will come out of this just fine, I know that.
And I know that this tug on my heart is not one every parent will understand, yet some parents will feel exactly as I do. These are times like no other, full of struggle and discord. People are suffering, everywhere, for different reasons and my heart breaks every day for our current state.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that the leaves are falling as they always do, only this fall, they are not bright or full of life. All I know is I miss it.
I miss it all.