These past few weeks have hit my family hard in a variety of ways. My marriage is going through a difficult season. My oldest son has encountered some trouble at school and at home. I fell off a bike and broke my elbow (true disclosure, it was a double fracture, but it hurt like a break)! It has literally been one thing after another for several weeks on end. I am weary, I am worn, I feel like life is beating me up a bit.
However, tonight at my son’s seventh-grade basketball game, the two teams were playing neck in neck. A truly well-matched competition. It was one of those nail-biting, on-the-edge-of-your-seat, who will win this? sort of games. The ones I love. The ones I live for. The ones when the crowd is just as invested as the sweaty young men fighting for victory down on the hard, wooden court.
My son’s team was three points behind. There were seconds left on the clock. Moms and dads in the stands were holding their breath, praying for a miracle of epic proportions. And then, out of nowhere, my son’s best buddy scored an amazing three-point shot to tie up the game. The crowd went wild. The cheering was ear-splitting and soul-gripping. The excitement was at an all-time high.
The overtime allotment was two minutes. My son was among the final five on the court. During the last minute of the game, he managed to get fouled (an area in which he truly excels, on and off the court, it seems). The pressure in my chest mounted. The weight of the win rested on my son’s 13-year-old shoulders. I almost could not watch as he stepped up to that free-throw line with only seconds remaining on the clock (but of course, I did watch).
Somehow, some way, his free-throw shooting magically came together, and he sunk the winning shot. My oldest son, my newly minted teenager, my baby boy scored the very point that won the game! It was a moment I will never forget. And I hope he never forgets, either.
Every parent wishes for this moment for their child. A buzzer beater, a tying score leading to overtime, a winning shot. And subsequently, to witness the team pummel each other at the end of the game: high fives, hugs, shouts of joy, and chanting that only these young pubescent boys can understand. This sight, this experience, this team cohesiveness . . . it literally took my breath away. The crowd was riled. The players were on cloud nine. You couldn’t help but get caught up in the excited aroma of a narrow win.
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Life is full of moments. Some routine, some exciting, some mundane, some heartbreaking, and some . . . some are so monumental they are permanently tattooed on one’s heart. Tonight, as my son’s large, loving, blended family took up nearly two rows of stadium seats to support him, he and his close-knit, band of brothers, basketball team put on an exceptional show.
After the past few weeks we had, my son truly needed that win. I am so proud of him. I am proud of his team. And I am proud that we are all learning to enjoy these monumental moments of life. The good, the bad, the hard lessons, the discipline, and the chance to start fresh. To come off the bench and shine, even if just for a moment. Possibly the only time in a season. But a moment that translates to second chances, learning from failures, and embracing a hard-fought, cohesive team, 11th-hour win.
This is the stuff little-boy dreams are made of. This is the stuff moms-of-little-boys dreams are made of. And I was blessed with a front-row seat to witness it firsthand. Blessed doesn’t even begin to define my feelings. It is something more. Something greater. A whisper from above, that simply says: Everything is gonna be okay.