I caught a quick glimpse of him through a little window while we walked around to the gymnasium door. That 3 second glimpse would have been enough to sustain me for the weekend because during those seconds caught between two blinks, he was smiling.
My husband and I greeted 6 other family members as we headed up the bleachers. Within moments, I think he gave a smile and a wave. Honestly, I’m not 100% certain that it was directed towards me – but that’s okay, because the best part was just being near him.
Soon, my eyes were watching him play, but my brain was wondering if he would talk to us after the game, or let me hug him, or let me kiss him on the cheek. In a little grocery bag I had packed a few of his favorite snacks; would he stick around after the game long enough for me to give it to him?
(While my mother brain was in over-drive, there was a great basketball game happening on the court. M played the entire game and scored several points. I’ve never seen him play like this before. No longer was he the kid on the outside of the action yelling, “Here…throw it to me!” He was in the action, and his passes to his teammates were quick, deliberate, and effective. In many ways, I was seeing my son for the first time. Is it silly to think a basketball game can show maturation? I don’t think so.)
After the game he walked over to us, and that was my opportunity to go-in for the hug. He kind-of smiled again, and then said “Hello” to everyone. The team needed to head into the locker room, but he told us that he would come right back…And he did.
We took some pictures with him, spoke to his coaches, met a new cadet from Rwanda, and basically just soaked in the happiness. He took the grocery bag with the snacks, then looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you.” I hugged him again and kissed him on the cheek. He then proceeded to hug the other 6 family members…I stood and took it all in.
As stressful as the last couple years have been, and considering that during the last few months we’ve seen many tense moments, I didn’t expect tonight to metamorphose into a darn good night.
I love you, M.
Good playing tonight.