Game Day

Last night we went to East’s football game. I love football season. I love the game so much. But I have to be honest, it’s hard for me to go to any football game where my #22 is not on the field. I still have not gone to an Edgewood high school football game since Zach’s last one – in October, 2015. It may sound silly, but I just can’t imagine sitting in the stands at Kumler field and not seeing my boy out there.

Both Paige and Meaghan are a part of Lakota East’s amazing marching band – and I love watching them do their thing on Friday nights! They amaze me with their hard work and talent. But watching the game – even the game that I love – is just, well, different.

I’ll never forget taking Zach to his first pee wee football practice. He didn’t start in Kindergarten as many of his friends did. Rather he waited until 4th grade to try out this sport that would forever change all of our lives. As we pulled up to the practice field, he was fighting tears. He changed his mind twice as we were getting out of the car. He held tightly to my hand (not cool for most boys that age) but fought off those fears and went out there to join his team. From that day on, Zach was obsessed with the sport. He practiced on his own in the backyard. He watched any and every football game on tv. He studied the playbook. He played imaginary games in his room long past bedtime. He became a football player.

Pee Wee 4th grade

His love of the game continued through junior high and high school. He was one of the most dedicated, passionate players I have ever seen (yes, I am biased…but it’s true). Zach was also a very talented baseball player, earning Player of the Year his sophomore season in high school, along with many other honors through high school. As college approached, he looked at several schools to play baseball, but also received some football offers. I truly thought all along he would choose baseball but when it came time for a decision, he went with his first true love. He said to me “Mom, there is just something about the hype leading up to a football game. I’m not ready to be finished.”

Zach went on to play four years at Otterbein University where we were able to make so many amazing memories. We tailgated weekly and made so many new friends through his journey. Saturdays in fall were my absolute favorite. Still are. Just a little different now.

As excited I am for another college football season, I still get emotional thinking about the fact that my favorite football player of all time will not be suiting up! I will watch all the games. I will cheer hard for the Buckeyes. But I will always be thinking of all of the cheers and tears that a lifetime of football with my only son brought me. Thank you #22!

The final season

Around Poem

I went back to college to get my Education degree in my late 30’s. I was a nontraditional student on a very traditional campus. Many universities have great programs to encourage older adults to return to school and get their degrees, but my alma mater did not. I was most definitely different. However, I was placed in a cohort with amazing students and they welcomed me as their “school mom.” I loved this part of my life during this time period. My capstone class right before graduating was creative writing. We were assigned an “Around” poem for our first writing. I’ll never forget sharing this with my classmates. I was very anxious to share my life experiences with this group of 20 somethings who had barely lived in my eyes. I felt so different in this setting and nearly let my fear of rejection get the best of me. But, I shared and they received and it was a very proud moment for this old school mom. I’d like to share that poem with you here. On a side note, I have done a lot more living since I wrote this poem…and I think I might write another one – and updated one in the near future.

Around 2006, I returned to school and was labeled non-traditional.

Around 1979, my oldest brother left home at the age of 16 without saying goodbye.

Around 1997, after 18 hours of labor, my first child came into the world.

Around 2007, on a bitter, cold morning, my Grandpa died.

Around 1975, I stood at the bus stop waiting for my first day of kindergarten…the bus never came.

Around 1993, I married my high school sweetheart.

Around 1974, I watched my dog Benji get hit by a car while I played in the front yard.

Around 2001, on an icy morning, I gave birth to my daughter.

Around 2008, I watched my brother’s son marry his high school sweetheart.

Around 2003, I walked my son to school fir his first day of kindergarten…we didn’t take any chances with the bus.

Around 1984, I kissed a boy for the first time – at the county fair. His name was Nick.

Around 2008, my high school sweetheart and I ended our 15-year marriage…at the breakfast table.

Around 2006, my son and I walked my daughter to school for her first day of kindergarten.

Around 1985, I had my heart broken for the first time.

Around 2008, I learned to be me again…still non-traditional.

It’s bittersweet to sit and reflect on all of those poignant moments that stick in my memory. It’s also comforting to know that I have been blessed with such a life. What moments would appear in your Around poem? I encourage you to take time to reflect and be thankful for this life today! Much love.

Zach

77251012_1068918693440446_4906038921999155200_nThe oldest of my five kids is Zach. He is finishing out his senior year at Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio. I am quite certain this is not how he envisioned his final chapter of school going. Zach played football for the Cardinals, so during the fall I got to see him every single weekend – and it made my momma heart happy. Since we have all been under a stay at home order, I have not been able to see him. Many days I wished more than anything that he was here with the rest of us – to share in all of our family time. I know that he is with his own little family – his amazing girlfriend, Katie (superhero nurse), and their dog (my granddog) Archie. I know they are safe and happy – but I sure wish they were all here with us!

I wrote a poem about Zach when he was 12 years old. While so much has changed about my “little man” in the last decade, so much still remains the same. Here are those words from his childhood.

Zach

They call him
Mr. Intensity
On the field

But it fits
Him
In every way

He is passionate
And intense
Emotional and loyal

The kind of personality
That draws a crowd
And then entertains them

He is tender
And caring when
No one is looking

He will have his
Heart broken
Many times

But it will not
Change his intense
Caring nature

He is my
Little man
Zach

Zach is now a grown man who has not lost his intense, caring nature. He has survived a few heart breaks, and has found his forever love. He set goals and accomplished them. I know in the big picture, everything will be okay. But it’s hard to know he’s missing out on the end of college the way he had it pictured – saying goodbye to friends, parties, graduation, etc. But I also know that he is going to continue to do amazing things with the life he is building. And through it all, he will always be my Zach!