So Long and Farewell To A Chapter.

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The last game. CSU-Pueblo. Pueblo, Colorado. Photo by JAH. October 2018.

There’s a part of me who does not want to bid farewell to this person.

She was the person who had a wall calendar that included dates and times of soccer and football practices (because at one point, she had to be both a soccer and football mom–not to mention soccer sister to her brother). She even had the same information in her organizer that she carried with her in a huge tote bag along with a water bottle, hand wipes and sanitizer, a few energy bars (not for her, but for them who may have forgotten to eat a snack before a game).

I said farewell to this person twice before–but not really. I said farewell to her when her brother, and her eldest son finished their soccer career, as she sadly sighed that her calendar got a bit lighter. I say it was a sad sigh because it meant that while both of them were moving on with their lives, I was going to truly miss being part of their daily routines.

I really don’t want to bid farewell to that part of me.

Anyone who is sane would wonder why, and I say because this farewell is a permanent closure to the could-have-beens.

Selfish, I know.

But, every mother and mother-figure who has ever devoted a life of the cheerleader, the therapist, the tear wiper, the equipment manager, the ever hopeful for the Olympic medal–would empathize.

The middle child wunderkind is the last of the soccer family saga. In those days of him growing up, I will admit that the seconds I had to myself of driving to and from soccer practices, and soccer games–I dreamt those grandiose dreams of the national team or the major league soccer teams. I’d smack myself with practicality soon afterward. I’d tell myself that this is his passions, and I am there only to provide guidance and the water bottle–just as I did with my brother, and my eldest. I’d offer words of encouragement when the games did not turn out as they should’ve, and in my rearview mirror, I’d watch him look out of the car window knowing full well that he was hard on himself–always striving for perfection.

I’ve perfected the quiet ride back home.

I’ve perfected the timing of getting to soccer practice just in time after putting in a full day at the office.

I’ve even perfected the multi-tasking of watching a game and answering work emails while also wondering if I’d ever get to wear the red, white, and blue during a USA National team game. Then, I’d smack myself again as a reminder to appreciate the now, and never take it for granted.

I know a lot of moms like myself. The ones I knew were never those who lived through their children vicariously, but were merely the support staff to all of their endeavors. I stood next to many of them on the sidelines throughout many summers, and winters (during indoor games–they never ended).

We were those who cheered quietly or loudly (when appropriate).

We were those who lost our breath for a second when our player laid on the soccer field because of a possible injury, and a million devastating scenarios ran through our minds.

We were the home physical therapist–making sure that the injured body part was rested, iced, compressed, and elevated.

We were those who cried on the inside when the team lost in a championship that we knew meant the world for them, but we smiled to remind them that there will always be another championship.

We were those who hauled smelly soccer gears in the back of the car, and had a case of bottled water and snacks waiting just in case another one of us forgot that it was their turn for the after game snacks.

We packed bandaids and first aid kits in our tote bags.

We knew every short cut and the fastest way to get from one point to another so that we would never be late.

We are those who sat on the bleachers through sun, snow, and rain.

And, in the end, we were those who sat on the bleachers at a college game trying not to cry at the thought of the last game.

I did get teary eyed on the CSU-Pueblo soccer field under that evening sky because the image that continued to cross my mind was that little boy who first stepped on the soccer field with excitement in his eyes, and I wondered where did all the years go?

I looked out to that soccer field, and I can still tell which one he was among his college teammates. I can distinguish from the way he kicks that soccer ball with his left foot, the way he ran and swayed switching his position.

And, I’d whisper to myself, “that’s my little boy.”

My little boy who will graduate from college in a few months, and with that a new found adventure with the love of his life. As always, I will be there cheering him on.

As a mom, there’s always that juxtaposition of feelings when it comes to our children: happiness and sadness, fear and excitement–we could never define these emotions that have become symbiotic between our hearts and our minds.

It is almost as if from utero as soon as that umbilical chord forms itself, there are two flows of energy forever embedded even once that child has grown into his/her own being.

Before my eyes, years went by without hesitation and I knew without reservation that I must bid farewell to the Soccer Mom chapter in my life.

She was a great part of me, and she did her job with love and devotion. Thank you for surviving and maintaining sanity during the insane.

Brava.

And farewell.

Memory Keeper… 

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The first experiment. Baby brother in his college years. Corban College.
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Before the eldest became a phenomenal journalist and storyteller, he knew his way on that field in Kansas. September 2011. Kansas.
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Them boys. The eldest and the middle. Fairbanks, Alaska. ca. 2005.
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First soccer game. The middle child, 5 years old. Photo by JAH. Fairbanks, Alaska.

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Olympic Developmental Program Regional Team for the West Coast. Orlando, Florida. November 2010. Photo by Josh Ayers.
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A day in the papers. The middle makes his decision. May, 2015.
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Signing day. Lathrop High School. May 2015.

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After the last game of his senior year in high school. I wanted to capture this moment, and glad that I did. Fairbanks, Alaska. May 2015.

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