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Monday, September 5, 2011

Watching From the Sidelines


This past weekend I attended a football game in a small, rural town in Central Illinois.  My son Ben, a high school senior, was playing.  It was a hot night, and the sea of corn stalks behind the field was as high as an elephant’s eye. You could smell the green of the crops.  It would have been a perfect night for football, except that some team members got hurt.  Injured players are the worst part of watching high school sports for me.  When a player is down on the field, the coach and the team doctors take care of him.  His mom stands on the sidelines and wonders if her son will be OK.  She knows he’s in pain.  She knows he’s vulnerable, but there’s nothing she can do.  She wants to be with her son, but if she gave into her desire to run to him, it would only embarrass him and interfere with his care.  So she just watches from the sidelines.  I am sure dads feel some of that helplessness too.
 During the game this past Friday night, the Quarterback went down in the 3rd quarter.  The game paused while the doctors and coaches attended to him.  I watched the QB’s mom watching her son.  She tensed, she cursed from the sidelines.  Her boy was surrounded by other adults trying care for him, and she couldn’t see what they were doing.  She didn’t even know what was wrong with him.  He was so far away in that moment.  I felt for her.  I knew she wanted to be at her son’s side and that she had to hold herself back.  I talked to her about it later. “If I’d gone out on that field, I would have kicked Danny’s butt!”  She said, “I would have told him to get up and back in the game.  He was down way too long.”   She had just the right attitude to be a quarterback's mother.
 Eventually, Danny did get up and limped off the field while the crowd cheered.  The mom looked relieved for a moment, but then the coach put Danny right back in the game.  He played the 4th quarter on a sprained ankle and with a bad leg cramp.  He was obviously in pain.  His mother could have told the coach not to play him anymore, and she would have been justified.  If it were my son, I might have done that.  But the QB’s mom did nothing.  Danny’s mom is tough and also very wise.  Even though the team lost, Danny was a hero in the moment.  He was in pain, but he didn’t give up.  And he certainly will not blame his mother for not coming to his rescue.  He played his position well.
Now, relating this to adoption … As adoptees, we’re out on the field, and our parents, both  adoptive and natural, are on the sidelines.  We’re on our own.  There were times when they weren’t there for us, and yet we stayed in the game.  We sustained some injuries, but we kept playing because we were needed right where we were.  We were tenacious.  Think of those moments when you kept playing, even when you hurt.  You threw the passes.  You executed the plays.  You are very strong, and will get stronger.  Those thoughts can be healing for you.  Because you really can be whole, and you've never been alone.

Birthmothers, I can’t begin to know what you go through.  But experiences like being a football mother give me just a bit of compassion for your situation.  Maybe sometimes you have felt like the QB’s mom on the sidelines, distanced from your child, not really knowing what was going on. You couldn't be at your child's side.  Maybe you knew he was hurting, and you had to let others care for him instead of you.  That has been so difficult.  But your child plays the game without you at his side, and he plays well.   Continue to support him.   If you don't know where your child is or what he is doing, support him in your prayers.  You can do that much for him.  Your child is a hero.  He plays a very important position.  He is needed right where he is.

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Here's a video of me on the football field with Ben during pre-game last year.  He's 16 years old in this clip.  It was Mom's night, and we were being honored.  Sorry it's poor quality.  I haven't figured out editing yet.  Still, it's worth 91 seconds of your life to watch this.  Pay special attention to the last few seconds of the clip.  Ben's exit is hilarious.


2 comments:

MariAnell said...

Thank you for this! You don't know how much I needed to read this message today. I spent the last 18 years believing that my birth daughter's family would want to reconnect with me once she was old enough, but they don't. You have reminded me that I am not completely helpless. I can still pray for her. I can still pray for them.

Thank you!

Megan said...

MariAnell, I'll pray for you and them as well. I am a child of closed adoption, and my a-parents believed that reconnecting with my birthmom was a bad idea. But I did it anyway, and so did one of my adoptive brothers. Perhaps your daughter will want to search at some point in the future, and will ask her parents for information. LDSFS is currently in the process of developing a search registry. I hope this will send a message to LDS adoptive parents that reunions aren't bad, and are even condonded by the LDS church. The Church handbook was recently changed and no longer discourages reunions.

Also MariAnell, many states have their own adoption registries or confidential intermediary programs. You might want to check out what is offered in the state where you placed. Make sure the information is out there that you want to be found.

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