Friday, September 23, 2011

Mom's football practice

“I don’t know if this blood is mine or somebody else’s,” my son said rather casually as he trotted off the football field. His coach apparently has a “No bleeding on the field policy;” otherwise, he’d still be out there.

Then I said something I don’t believe I’ve said in the ten years since he was born: “Well, I sure hope it’s your blood!”

I’ve always been amazed at the things I’ve found myself saying since I became a mother, and I can certainly add this to my list. I think I’ll put it between, “No, babies are not born by crawling out of their mothers’ mouths,” and “No, the tooth fairy does not give raises.”

Back to football. Realizing that it was, in fact, his blood, I jumped up and sprang into action. Since my husband was at our daughter’s sporting event across town, I had to balance the right amount of motherly concern versus fatherly “Get back out there and get you some!” It’s a fine line.

Somehow, despite the fact that I gave my husband three first aid kits for Father’s Day – don’t ask – I discovered I didn’t have a Band-Aid to save my life or, in this case, to bandage a superficial scratch. I went from mom to mom and waited while they dug into their purses, watching my son patiently inspect the blood that continued to drip down his arm. Finally, one sweet and prepared mom offered to run to her car to get one. She quickly reappeared with wipes, Band-Aids, and even a trash bag to throw the biohazard away. I’ve always said it takes a village.

I got his cut cleaned up, and he was soon back on the field. The coach called a water break not long afterwards, and my son came trotting over again, “My Band-aid fell off already.”

Fortunately, the wound had sealed, and he could go back to head-banging, I mean, football. I have to admit, I’m not the best football mom, but I’m learning. One thing I’ve learned is I need to sit as far away from the action as possible. This prevents me from hearing his grunts and moans and the clanking of his head getting banged, and it also prevents him from having the urge to look pitifully at me. Not that we are making him play, mind you. He loves it and wants to do it. Except perhaps when he practicing nose guard over and over and over again.

On nights like that, I try to maintain a healthy distance, though it takes just as much strength for me not to march out on the field, shake my finger at the bigger kids for hitting my boy and then give him a big hug. But, I don’t. I may not know much about football, but I was raised in the South, and I know how much it means to boys - of all ages.

So, instead, when he comes off the field tired, sore and looking a little dejected and asks me if his head is bruised and shows me his battle wounds, I say, “Football is a tough sport – and you’re a tough kid. Now, do you want to get a milkshake?”

I’m not sure if this is the best way to handle it or not. He may be my third child, but most of the time, I feel like I’m just practicing. I do know one thing, however, and that is there’s not much a good milkshake can’t cure. Thanks be to God.

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