Last night was senior night at our grandkids’ high school football game in Nebraska. After two planes and a three-hour drive in a rental car from Kansas City we made it in time for the pre-game festivities.
The honoring of the senior players involved a processional walk across the field, by parents carrying a poster size picture of their sons. An announcer described each boy’s accomplishments and aspirations, both on and off the field, “an honor student, member of the such and such association, volunteer at so and so summer camp, will attend a four year college.” Since the start of the game was still nearly an hour away, the stands were occupied mostly by family members, busily snapping pictures with their cell phones.
Our grandson’s team performed so well, so early on, that the team could display their extraordinary depth at many positions, including the one our grandson held. So I’m imagining, many more grandparents that usual got to see their grandsons play. The half-time performance by 160+ members of the high school’s band, complete with flag twirlers and a dance troupe, ramped up the evening’s celebration meter to at least that of a college level spectacle.
At the end of the evening, the announcer stated there were over 2000 people in attendance. But for us, we still missed the one person we knew who wasn’t there – our grandson’s mother. The student body dressed in crazy quilt outfits, thrift store vests and robes, shirts and shoes, all in the shocking pink color that celebrates breast cancer awareness month, helped to bring her to mind. The players dressed in the black and gold of their school colors wearing socks or swatches of the shocking pick color underlined for us, her absence. Seeing our grandson’s Dad walk across the field by himself, as the announcer called out, “son of..” And hearing the silence that followed his name, instead of the mention of our daughter’s name. My impulse was to go to the microphone and, and over the loud speaker, say her name.
After all, in spite of her death from breast cancer seven years ago, he is still her son. She is still his mother. I’m sure my grandson knows that, and I hope he knows too, that nothing will ever change that.