I attended a home volleyball game last night. When the varsity team comes out, they do so to the beat and noise of a current hit song and take a lap around the gym. Seeing my tall, handsome son jog around the gym resulted in my crying openly in the stands where I was as usual, sitting by myself. In the past, I've cried during athletic events because of the sadness I felt that the boys' Dad wasn't there to proudly see them. Last night, the tears were of honor and pride for myself and my son.
The numerous hardship and pain over the past years hasn't totally ruined us. Despite it all my sons have had their moments of success and I hope some happiness in there too. If I hadn't moved back for second semester, my son wouldn't have been playing volleyball at all since it is not a male sport in the state where Sam moved. Nor would he have won "The Mr. (High School)" contest and been crowned king of the school in February.
There has been no dad or even remotely consistent male figure in my sons' lives to guide and encourage them so the credit for what they have accomplished very much rests on their shoulders. I must admit that some of the time over the past years I have been preoccupied and not 100% available to them because of the fires I've been putting out - either caring for my parents, getting remarried or divorced, been in a depressed stupor because of the divorce (thankfully that only lasted a few weeks) or selling the house and moving.
These days I don't often think of my deceased husband. Too much has happened between his death and the present. He is no longer much on my mind, hence the tears for my son and I last night - our sacrifices, our strength, our pride. The credit is all ours. My husband's influence on us all and our current lives is waning and diminished.
Last week, I cried when my son jogged out for his opening game. Then there were tears when his name was announced for the starting lineup. The team members not playing form a huddle and line around the starters, then whop and cheer as they run out onto the court. Because I was aware of the setup, I was a bit surprised that I cried again last night - I was aware what was coming.
Last week, too, I had a couple more incidents of crying. I went to another game and while reading before it began, started tearing up when my book went into a description of a couple reconciling after a breakup. I started thinking about how the people in my life seem incapable of working out "glitches," wanting to end or damage relationships because of their inability to face conflict. Part of me said, "Why can't I be involved with a man willing to hang in there until the rough patch has passed?" "Or have a family willing to talk about issues instead of pretending they don't exist which ends up being very harmful to many degrees?" This has been one of the most profound lessons I've learned from my husband's death - to not give up, to be willing to work on relationships because they are worth it, and to concentrate on what is truly meaningful and worthy and forget about the trivial stuff.
Then, one day driving home from work, I just burst into tears and had a good cry the 30-minute drive home, although I'm not sure if there was any specific reason to prompt my tears. Just the stress of everything both past and present. I let the tears flow.
Tonight is another home game and I want to attend. I'm not sure my son will be playing but it is worth my going just to see his jog around the gym and his warm-up practice. My son is one of the few Juniors with actual playing time. There are some parents who've only seen their boys practice - another pat on the back for my son. And when he has asked me later at home, "Mom, did you see that play I made...?" I am grateful that I can honestly tell him, "Yes." And that I can tell him how proud I am at how well he has played and conducted himself, which I did yesterday when he came over to me after the game.
His Dad would be very proud of the fine, young talented man he has become and is continuing to mature into.