"I've never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don't understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now." --Sophia Loren
Even though this past week had a lot of memorable moments; a transition to middle school, starting 3rd grade after being held back to repeat second, and a very happy 4 year old beginning his school adventure as he walked through the door on the very first day of preschool, it was another moment that swallowed me and froze me entirely as I watched it unfold. It was the first time my son had been able to play sports since the accident 13 months ago.
Many trips to the neurologist and rehabilitation doctors, many discussions (sometimes heated, always emotional) on whether or not he should be able to play again, countless hours researching head protection, battling faith versus reason, and padding him up the best way I could before he walked out on the field on Saturday to try out for baseball. Baseball, the only team sport we could all agree upon being the doctors, my son, and myself. The best helmet on the market, Kevlar inserts in his cap, and a strong will to try and move forward is what we had...and off he went. I'm sure most watching noticed he missed hitting every ball at home plate, he was slow running the bases, but he fielded pretty well. Okay, no Babe Ruth, but, let's face it, he is a late bloomer as other kids had a good 5-6 years of experience under their belt, and he has never played before so the more he does it, hopefully, the more comfortable and better he will get. However, NONE of that mattered. It was watching him step out on that field for the first time that will be forever embedded in my mind. The emotions only a mother could feel. The pride and the fear, the hope and the doubt, the holding on and letting go. I sat calmly but hid the battle going on inside me as I watched him. Now, I know it was the right thing to do. It broke the seal and let him feel normal and he made it through unscathed and eager to try again. I kept thinking though how you never know what battles people are facing around you.. Do you? No one besides us on the ball field that day knew the struggle and the sacrifice and the bravery and the dedication this kid has that got him to this moment and made this a day to remember. Not for the performance but for the courage. He doesn't block out the painful memories or hide from them. In turn, he has learned to respect them and even allowed them to help form the person he is now.
The one bravely standing at home plate.
The one with no experience but not afraid to try.
The one who didn't give up when he was told this was his only option.
The one who has not refused to wear bulky and hard plates inside his hat to protect himself.
The one who left feeling inspired and not discouraged.
The one who has taught us all to not let fear capture us and to believe that there are plenty of happy days ahead.
I couldn't be prouder of him and the step he has taken to move forward without compromising who he is and taking this 13 month break to listen, heal, and enhance himself into everything more wonderful he has become.
Life is not fair. It can turn tragic without warning, but, it does not have to scar you and your ability to move forward. There will be days, good days, to remember, and those moments will be so much sweeter. Sweeter than you ever believed was possible if you have the courage to allow yourself to feel it.