My first born, he is so precious to me. He is the one who first made me a mommy, and he will always be my baby boy. Tonight, all suited up in his football uniform, he didn’t look like my baby boy though. He looked like what he is…a young man. As I sat there watching him, my mind began to drift back over all the obstacles he has somehow found his way through, around, or over.
Sharing his parents with not only his younger siblings, but also his father’s younger siblings. His status as our oldest child was stripped from him before he was even born. Since we found out we were pregnant with him two weeks after we took custody of the first two (of the extra seven) we became guardians to…he only held his position as our oldest and only for the first four weeks he inhabited my womb.
ADHD that went undiagnosed for the entirety of elementary and middle school, and half of high school. We always knew he struggled slightly, but compared to the the more severe delays of my husband’s siblings, well, he just seemed so much better off…we always thought he’d just “snap out of it” one day and start to do better. He didn’t. Now he’s so far behind in credits, and spent the first half of this football season on academic probation, still working his tail off in practice (and in the classroom)…but unable to play.
The onset of asthma, discovered when he had to be hospitalized during his seventh grade year. It just seemed to come out of nowhere, accompanied by a severe chest cold and bronchitis, and caused him to miss quite a bit of school – when he was already having difficulty keeping up.
Knee surgery right at the beginning of his eighth grade year of football, causing him to miss that season…and then again at the end of his ninth grade year. The second time, the correct repairs were finally made (he had a trampoline accident when he was just five), but the timing of the surgery caused him to miss what would have been his first high school football camp at his favorite university (OSU), as well as the majority of the football season during his tenth grade year.
Finally, with full strength in his knee and hours invested in the weight room working to prepare for Spring football practice to begin – yet another setback. During the very first practice, he jumps up to catch a pass (which he did catch) but as he landed on his side on the turf…he broke his scapula. The (yet another) orthopedic specialist said they rarely see that kind of a crack to the shoulder blade, outside of a car accident or a bat to the back. He had been so looking forward to that football camp at OSU, the one that he missed the previous year after knee surgery, but he once again was unable to participate, although his coaches took him along anyway.
Well, I sat in the stadium tonight – watching my handsome son on the field…being so proud of him. He played in that same part of the field I used to watch his daddy terrorize, in the same position his daddy used to dominate, intercepting the ball twice and nearly a third time just like his daddy used to do…and answering to the same name that Daddy’s coaches used to holler after him – “Sparrow!” (same first name too). The pride on his face as he approached me after the game to give me a hug (also just like Daddy used to do), was unmistakable and, in that moment, he looked SO much bigger than the collection of obstacles he has so bravely hurdled.
I am so, so proud of you, Son. Mama loves you more than her own life.