If you would have asked me 4 months ago if I would be a soccer coach, stay-at-home mom, Wonder Woman and a princes…well of course my answer would have been NO. But, here I am…in all my glory, and you know what, I’m beginning to like this person.
When I first started blogging about 2 months ago, I discussed how my adult identity was wrapped up into my marriage, my child, J’s career and mine as well. And that when 3 months ago exactly, our lives changed with a knock on our door, I lost half of my identity, and the other half, well I’m pretty sure she went into hiding. She was shell shocked, and she didn’t know where to go, how to act, or who to really be. So, I pretty much just survived, and occasionally (okay often) walked around aimlessly.
The last week has been immensely more difficult than normal. It seemed like I was constantly adding more rain gear to weather one storm after another. To name a FEW: 2 flat tires (same day), the guy who hit J posted bail, the motorcycle that was SUPPOSED to be paid off actually wasn’t (long story,) etc. So, with each one I added another layer to my rain gear. A pink rain coat, and then a purple on top of that. Then I added leopard print rain boots, a turquoise umbrella etc. Hey, if I’m going to weather a storm, I might as well do it with cute weather attire!
My friends seem to always weather it with me. They put on cute rain attire, and they always weather a storm with me. And so, when they can’t be there to weather a storm, they always feel guilty. I keep telling them I’m not a princess, I’ll survive. I don’t need rescuing…I can float on my own for just a little while if need be, but they never like that answer. They tell me I don’t have to and frankly, I’m not going to. So, together, we have been weathering storms in our cute little rain attire, and honestly at times, even trendy life jackets were needed…but we survived the week.
But, despite all my cute rain attire, my tiara my friends tell me I deserve to wear for awhile, and even my Wonder Woman costume (that I obviously wear underneath all of this rain attire,) I still felt empty, void, and often times depressed. I didn’t know how many more storms my faith could weather…I kept praying, and reflecting, and hoping, and praying some more that these storms would stop. That for just a few moments, I could feel peace again.
My strength has been tested so much in these past 3 months, and it seems like continually this past week. but still somehow, I kept pushing through. I couldn’t have done it without friends and WHOLE lot of prayer, and of course, leopard print rain boots make it a little easier to walk through water as well ;).
And so, somehow, I made it to this weekend. The 14th and the 15th- dates I dread. Dates that take me back, imprison me in grief, and cause that anger to seep back up to the surface. Dates that are a constant reminder of the battles I am forced to face now. All last night, I had a bittersweet feeling about C’s first soccer game. You see, the games are played at the park where J was hit by an SUV, and where hundreds of people fled the scene, and I knew that today, I would have to visit there, and face those fears once more. And, I didn’t think I was ready, but C deserves a childhood – his has been robbed enough as it is.
This morning, I got all the gear ready, and we headed out. I prayed along the way for a sense of peace, and the ability to somehow overcome the sadness and make beautiful memories at a place where so much of my anger stems from.
To enter the soccer fields, we have to pass right by the scene of the hit and run, I forced myself to acknowledge it. In essence, it’s just a place, a median, a stretch of grass, it didn’t do anything. It’s just a reminder of the actions of others. SO, I faced it. I watched as we drove by, and I prayed some more. You all tell me I have a strength you could never possess, but you can…believe me, I wish I didn’t have to be this strong. But, I refuse to continue to be a victim…so we kept driving.
I got out of the car wearing my metaphorical pink rain coat, leopard boots, turquoise umbrella, tiara, and soccer coach clothes on. I carried my soccer coaching equipment on the outside, but on the inside, I carried a burden, anger, and immense sadness. I knew that today C played his first game without his daddy there, and nothing can describe that feeling to you. J was at every game. He LOVED to watch C play because J loved to play soccer himself. Watching C play created so much pride in J, and I wasn’t sure that I would be enough today. C LOVED to have his daddy at games. He sought after his praise and approval, and what if mine wasn’t enough?
But, I trudged on. And let me just say, all of this clothing is restrictive and heavy. It isn’t that easy to coach 6 five year old boys wearing all this metaphorical clothing. How does one run and balance a tiara at the same time? So, I lined up our boys, and we started warming up. And with each goal, each kick, and each “coach Stephanie did you see that,” more and more peace came over me. By the time the game started, I was smiling. J was there. That horrible spot that was symbolic of so much anger and bitterness within my heart was becoming a place of happy memories exactly 3 months later. God was giving me my peace in a place where I NEVER imagined feeling it at a time where I really didn’t think I could. And not only was he giving me peace, our boys were doing amazingly wonderful! 9 to 3. And no, the score really doesn’t matter- what matters is how they felt- how I felt, and most importantly how C felt. He was SO, so proud of himself.
As the game continued, he kept going, and kept working, and I couldn’t help but keep thinking how his daddy was smiling watching him today. How less than half a mile away, J’s last thoughts had been of me and C, and how today, instead of feeling sad, we were able to find some happiness in the same spot. Let me tell you- God is amazing.
So many people lifted us up in prayers today. So many people told me today that they couldn’t do what I did – that they couldn’t have faced those fears. I did it because my baby deserves to enjoy his childhood. He deserves success, and he deserves to know that his daddy is beyond proud of him. Afterwards, some people told me how sad it was that J couldn’t be there to watch C, and how sad C must have been because of that.
No, he wasn’t sad today, and neither was his momma. Tonight as I hugged him and kissed him goodnight, I reminded him again of how proud his daddy IS of him. And, the biggest grin came over his face, and he told me “yep, I know it, I felt it.” Yes, you are right, it is sad that my baby doesn’t have his daddy with him on Earth, but he feels him. And even though I don’t think I’m doing most anything right when it comes to all this, today was my affirmation that I am. Today, I shed restrictive metaphorical rain gear and tiaras. Today, I faced something I never thought I could, and today, I walked away rewarded.
Today was the first day that I felt J as closely as I have. He’s with me “to guard me and to guide me.” (Lyrics from our wedding song.”
He’s here with me to let me know that while this is my fate, I’m not alone. That I have some amazing friends who would put on their rain gear with me, and straighten my tiara that they force me to wear. And that each of them are wonder men and women in their own ways. But mostly, they are my constant reminders from God that he is in control, and He is giving me what I need. All of this metaphorical rain gear has given me a new perspective of one of my favorite lines from a hymn:
“Every blessing your pour down, I’ll turn back to praise.”
There are blessings hidden in every storm. How could you argue with this? Today, at a place I hated, I received a tremendous blessing…and all it took was a soccer coach, Wonder Woman, and a princess walking into a park, for me to realize that I’m beyond blessed even in the midst of a terrible storm.