The smell of wood smoke….cheers for a touchdown….scarf around my neck to ward off the crisp air…
I recently spent a Friday night watching my nephew play football at my old stomping grounds. He is one of the star players (as far as I can tell, anyway) :). It was a night of former students, old friends, family togetherness and being connected.
My favorite (all teachers have favorites) student form my first teaching job met me at the gate – she now teaches English at the high school I attended, where my nephew now attends. I hadn’t seen her for 24 years. I’d like to think that my influence all those years ago helped shape the teacher she is today.
A friend, who is also a third cousin on my fathers side of the family, from back in the day happened to show up with her daughter and we sat together catching up and laughing at how little we really knew about the game. I was thankful she was there because my husband feels the need to stand down by the fence with my brother and all the other football parents who are ready to pounce the minute their son might need them. Sitting in the stands by yourself can be lonely.
Then, my cousin-in-law arrived (from my mom’s side of the family). That was a special moment and a suprise to see him. You see, he recently lost his wife, my cousin. He said he just needed to see this side of the family – it was all about connecting and being as normal as you can when you are adjusting to loss. He was there to watch his nephew play football too.
Our nephews are good friends. They spend a lot of time together. They will see that the next generation of our family stays connected. A lot of families grow apart after the grandparents are gone and it’s almost unheard of for third cousins to be close. I’m glad our nephews will keep that family connection going and someday their children will be connected.
I think this is important to me for two reasons. Because I lost my cousin recently and she was like a sister and because I don’t have children of my own. I know someday my nephew’s children will be like the grandchildren I’ll never have and knowing that my cousin’s nephew will be connected to my nephew somehow helps me know that I’ll always be connected to her in some small way.
I left that game still unsure about how all the plays went, but very sure of my sense of family and the important things in life. It felt fitting that I found my sense of place at a football game.
Go in Grace,