Who do YOU want to win, he whispered in my ear. We sat sprawled out in daddy’s big brown leather chair, our heads pressed together in deep game consideration over the first of four NFL playoff games of the weekend.
Well, I don’t really care on this game, buddy, but I guess Kansas, I whispered back as I kissed his precious cheeks.
Eyes dancing, lopsided smile, he shook his head, No, no, no, it’s going to be New England mommy.
That morning, as I was painting little bit’s toenails, he bounded up. I want one toenail painted in the color of each team who’s going to win this weekend, he requested with a big smile.
On one side was a blue (Panthers) and red toe (Cardinals) for the NFC, and on the other a blue and red striped toe (Patriots) and makeshift orange (Broncos) for his AFC picks. Until Christmas break, I knew precious little about football, but suddenly my six year old became a football savant. Watching every single college or professional football game on (or being replayed). He asked a million questions, had us look at all the teams football websites, and he studied their scores and opponents. Heck, for the final game 16 of the NFL, we had to get Texans jerseys and plot out all the team games and his predictions.
I’m a quick study and in no time at all we were spouting football statistics and listening to games in the car if we happened to be away from a t.v.
Oh but this day, we were cuddled up on a gray afternoon while my mom played board games with the other two in the kitchen.
I have so much to learn about motherhood. I have a hundred ways to improve. I’m working on self-control and time management and more effective discipline.
But this I do well. I love to snuggle up with these three unbelievable miracles and lean into what interests them.
Little bit and I dress up for the ballet as she envisions herself on stage. I sit in wonder at the creations the baby can build with Legos or wood or miscellaneous supplies. And this one, well, these days its football.
I recently started watching Parenthood, I realize I’m late to the game, but now I’m completely taken by this show. Every episode I relate to a different character.
In one episode, a teenager runs away from home because her mom said something out of frustration which hurt her. I know my tongue gets the better of me more days than not, so I understand how something hurtful slips out and you can’t take it back. On a rainy night, she calls her mom to come pick her up at a truck stop and her mom rushes to get her along with other family.
When the mom arrives, the daughter has five words to say, Thanks for coming for me.
Mommas, I know we mess it up and have hard days, but I couldn’t help but think that’s the only thing we have to get right. We have to come for them. We just need to show up.
Isn’t it great that our kids get to see us fail and apologize? How else would they see you can bounce back from failing and learn how to make it right? What we really need to focus on is all the times we come for them. The times we are present for the small stuff. Eating popcorn as we watch movies under an oversized blanket on the couch. Offering band aids and kisses following those busted knees. Listening quietly when a friend has hurt her feelings. Going for ice cream when he doesn’t make the team.
At the end of all of these years of hard and imperfect parenting, I just whisper a prayer they’ll say, Thanks for coming for me.