I’m not sure exactly why you doubt my love for my children.
Is it because you don’t like how my voice raises an octave when I have to use the bathroom after them?
You probably don’t like to see me straining with all my might to keep from punching my teenager when he attempts to text in church. I get that. Violence only begets violence.
I also know you wish I enjoyed Candyland more, but ever since they made that shortcut through the Gumdrop Mountains I have to put my foot down. There just is not enough time in the day for that game.
And I know, dear Lord, that You beg for me to be more easy-going when I find the lawn being mowed into a diorama of the Philippine Islands made out of tall grass.
All of these things I’m working on.
I really am.
But, my Lord, last night, watching one of the most talented, but losingest soccer teams ever, I feel I did everything I could to prove myself worthy of these children.
Did I not blast the visually-impaired ref when he failed to call offsides on that team with the high-fiving, snarky parents?
Did I not support the concession stand when they said they had award-winning hot dogs for sale?
Did I not give up my blanket to our youngest son, knowing he’d shrug it off into that nasty pile of sunflower shells?
I sat in the stands, supporting our long-suffering team in this fashion for what must have been fifty-three thousand games this season.
I could have given up.
But You kept me there.
And I’m thankful You did.
In what turned out to be the final game of our son’s sophomore varsity career, the coach put our boy in for the last five minutes.
You kept me in the stands on a 40 degree night with a sore throat and a raging 101 degree fever so I could see those three pinpoint accurate throw-ins and how he steadily worked to keep the ball on our side of the field so the snarky team wouldn’t score again.
You also kept me there so I could see how You built up his integrity over the season.
I saw a young man out there.
But, alas, we were losing 4-1, and realistically there was very little (besides You) that could have saved those poor Monarchs.
Still, You kept me in those stands.
You kept me there, not so I could prove my love for our boys, but so I could be witness of their love for me.
As I mentioned, my body was brewing up a fever rivaling the heat Meatloaf brings to a Gary Busey intervention.
I could barely walk into the house after the game and the boys were clearly concerned.
Our oldest saw through his own grief and disappointment to ask what I needed.
As I pulled myself up the stairs, our baby, who was gasp! already in his pajamas and brushing his teeth without being told, informed me he would take himself to bed.
I stood there marveling at the phenomenon that is acute illness and its unique ability to bring out such remarkable qualities in our children.
There is something the youngest and I say to each other every night before turning out the lights.
We’ve had this exchange probably since he could talk.
I say the first part, and then he responds, and then there’s usually a giggle.
But last night he stole my line.
“Sleep like a baby,” he called after me.
I looked back and saw his smile, made just for me and I replied, “But don’t cry all night.”
So, thanks, God, for making me endure every last minute of this soccer season, for our boys, and for Your mystifying ability to help me make both Meatloaf and Gary Busey part of my blog. Amen.