I stood outside the fence that surrounded the downtown high school football field and peered down at the new football team. I was searching for Golden Boy, a rising junior hoping to make it through this coming season without dislocating his kneecap again.
I finally spotted him and stood transfixed. My heart was filled with love and wonder, and a tiny bit of sadness. He looked more like a man than a boy, and I was shocked. It was as if someone had fast-forwarded the clock from 12 to 16 in a nanosecond- and I missed an entire episode.
I stood awhile, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the sounds of youth and great possibility. I watched the boys and coaches interact; pushing, shoving, laughing and showing off for the crowds that had begun the gather around the fields. It was parent day and the first day of summer practice, so the fields were filling with freshman families and many others new to the “Friday Night Lights” family.
I smiled and laughed as other parents walked by. So many of them stopped for a hug and to say hello and make friendly conversation about our boys on the field. For some of us we have known each other since kindergarten, and many others joined in along the way. We talked about the boys and I enjoyed the encounters with so many that I haven’t seen since last fall. It reminded me about how very important it is to stay in the present, to participate in school events, and to stay close to your children’s activities even if you are not a part of that child’s life.
At one point a group of boys (I mean MEN) walked up the steep stairs to exit the field. They walked by us on their way to the training room for something or another, talking and laughing non-stop. Among them, I saw my boy; my beautiful, growing, wonderful boy. The boys were laughing, and then one turned, pointed to me and shouted to Golden Boy, “HEY G.B! Is that your MOM?”
Golden Boy smiled and said. “Yep!”
The boy smiled and shouted, “Hey Ms. P!!!” I waved back and laughed, expecting The Boy to cringe in humiliation.
Instead he smiled. He looked me in the eye with happiness as he smiled and joined the five other boys waving and shouting hellos.
I stared, waving in a bit of shock.
And for that moment, for that brief glorious moment, my heart was whole again. I WAS the mom, and The Boy, well, The Boy remembered.