Life is like a football game…hard when you’re only 11

So many, many good things to report.

My niece Kelly is coming this weekend to help me unpack my boxes–the ones that aren’t here yet. I can’t tell you how sad I’ve been about missing out on her mad organizational skills. The kids and I started praying last week that our things would get here by Friday so her trip wouldn’t be wasted by the pool (not that a pool trip is ever a waste). Unfortunately our cargo has been held up for the past few weeks in customs with no ETA in sight.

Yesterday morning as I was talking to my mom a call came through from the midwest. Sure enough, Danny and Ruthann were calling to tell me that my things have arrived in Las Vegas, and could they deliver them on Friday?

Then Jason called this afternoon. It looks like I’m catching an early flight to LAX tomorrow so I can rescue Big Green from the clutches of the ever incompetent IAL, the government’s new auto shipping company. My poor baby, I can’t wait to give him a little diesel and bring him on home. Everything is coming up roses and I feel so very blessed.

Miracles, people. They’re everywhere.

But of course, every silver lining has it’s rain cloud.

Tonight I picked Harrison up from football practice and watched as he slumped into the front seat next to me, slamming the door.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I hate football. I’m horrible at this! I can’t catch the ball, I can’t throw the ball, everyone laughs at me…”

And then he started to cry. My wonderful, sweet not-so-little-anymore 11-year-old who’s dad is far away and can’t help him with football this year, started to cry. And it wasn’t little kid fit crying, it was…real crying.

His words and his tears landed on my heart like a pile of bricks. I didn’t even know what to say. Part of me wanted to put my arms around him and tell him he never has to go back, that he doesn’t have to do this hard thing and that football is stupid.

The other part of me wanted to give him the old pep talk about not being a quitter. I’m a mother, I know that if I let him quit just because it’s hard then he’ll never experience the feeling of accomplishment you get when you do something right during a game. It’s such a well-earned adrenaline rush for a kid.

The third part of me wanted to stop and buy him chicken nuggets because he didn’t eat his dinner and being hungry makes everything worse.

I cooed a little at him and fed him some food, then took him home. On a whim I texted my sister Jenny who has a bunch of football crazed boys. I needed some advice, I can’t be the first mother to experience this, right?

She did one better. She had Liam, her big strong 15-year-old football star call Harrison.

When the call came through Harry was so embarrassed that his cousin had found out he was bombing at football that he ran and sat in the closet. I took him the call and put it on speaker phone then left to give them a little privacy.

Only a little privacy, I didn’t want to miss any of Liam’s sage advice.

I listened as Liam told Harrison how it had taken him three years to learn football. In fact, he made Harry promise to stick with it for three years until it got fun. They talked about keeping your chin up when you drop a pass, and Harrison’s current position as rusher on defense.

Then Liam, bless his heart, went one step further.

“Now Harry,” he said, “Do you pay your tithing?”

“Uh, yeah…” Harry said.

“Good. How about fasting? Do you fast on fast Sunday? Are you praying about this every day? ‘Cause you should probably start praying about this tonight, it will really help you.”

I can tell my kid all these same things until I’m blue in the face, but they wouldn’t have 1/10 the impact they had coming from his amazing cousin.

My Harry. He’s got good people looking out for him.