Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

“Nice shot Claire!” yelled the man sitting next to me.

I barely knew him, but he was a parent of another girl on the basketball team. The shot had actually bounced off the rim of the basketball hoop, but this random father was still yelling encouragement to Claire. She looked in our direction. I gave her a thumbs-up.

Sports are not my thing. I don’t know the first thing about whether my kid is off-sides or needs to go back and tag first base before running to second. I don’t watch sports and apart from a brief stint as a cheerleader, I don’t play them either. I tried desperately to get the kids into running, as that’s the one thing that I can do. But my kids want to play team sports, and so every season, I find myself signing them up for baseball, basketball, soccer or some other crazy activity that I can’t even begin to understand.

They like sports, Austin especially. In fact, Austin’s sports life has become somewhat consuming for me. He’s had a Saturday game basically every week since early September. I never went to these games before my husband, Shawn, died (that was his job) and I didn’t make many of them last spring. But this fall, I decided that I was going to try to go to ALL of them.

I missed a couple, because it’s just impossible to do everything sometimes, but I made it to a lot of them. And over the weeks this fall, I started talking to the other parents on the sidelines of his baseball games. At first, it felt a little bit awkward. Aside from a few people I knew well, the other parents were mostly people who knew me as the woman who’d lost her husband. I’m not saying they said anything like that to me (they have manners!) but I didn’t really know them otherwise. Maybe they didn’t think about my widowed status when they saw me, but here’s the key: I thought about it. And it made me feel awkward.

Still, I tried to chat with a few new people. It wasn’t always as bad as I had imagined and slowly, it became easier. Maybe that was because the games were TWO HOURS long. (I mean, what kind of sadist decided that second-graders should play two-hour long games in both scorching and freezing weather? Who knows!) But what I do know is this: if you are forced to watch second-grade baseball for two hours, you’ll start talking to everyone.

We all got to know each other, and I noticed that a number of the parents cheered just as loudly for Austin as they did for their own children. I loved that. We also got bored enough that we talked about life, and I found out that friendship can really come from sharing the mundane details of your life, week after week.

Friendship can also come because you need help. And I always did. This fall and winter, Saturdays became one big disaster—one kid needed to get to a birthday party and another kid needed to get to practice and the last kid also had a game at the same time that overlapped with both of the first two kids’ events. (That was just one Saturday I picked at random.) I wanted to be self-sufficient, and do everything on my own. But I could not. And if I refused to ask for help, the people who would suffer would be my kids. So I swallowed my pride and I asked for assistance. “Can you take Austin to practice/Claire to her game/Tommy to the party?”

Every. Weekend.

On repeat.


Everyone I ask for help is always gracious, even though they know I’ll never be able to pay them back. For a long time, I felt guilty about all of this help.

But then I started to realize that these times—the ones that my kids spent with other families—were times when other adults in my community really got to know my kids. I had made friends with these other adults over the two-hour baseball games, but they gotten to know my kids when they were listening to them prattle on in the backseat or making sure that they’d remembered all their gear for the game.

Slowly, I started to realize something. My kids weren’t just mine anymore. They were everyone’s.

And that meant that when one of them was trying to hit the baseball or shoot a basket, there were a lot of people in the stands cheering for them just a little bit harder.

At the last girls’ basketball game I attended, I watched Claire sink a great shot. Everyone around me went nuts. “I actually jumped up and cheered for her!” one parent said to me later, laughing a bit at his excitement. After Claire’s game, I hurried to catch the end of Austin’s game, and arrived just in time to see them win. I went over to Austin. He was standing near his coach who said to me, “Did Austin tell you about what a great game he had?”

Austin was beaming. So was his coach. He ruffled Austin’s hair a bit, and reminded him to keep practicing.

“I made three shots!” Austin said.

“That’s great baby,” I said. “I’m sorry I missed them. I was at Claire’s game.”

“It’s OK,” he said, “everyone here cheered for me.”

Originally published on the author’s blog 

You may also like:

To My Friend’s Kids—I Love You Like You’re Mine

Thanks to You, Friend, For Cheering for My Kid When I Can’t Be There

Dear Kids, I’m Going to Miss Some of Your Games…but It’s Not Because I Don’t Want to Be There


So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Marjorie Brimley

By day Marjorie Brimley is a high school teacher and mother of three. She spends her nights replaying the insane encounters that go along with being a recent widow and blogging about them at You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading