One by one, each player quickly passed by. I anticipated seeing that face I love come next.
But, the line ended. The players rushed off to the locker room. All… but my son.
“Where is he?” I looked beyond the crowd.
Finally, I spotted him, making his way off the field. Walking like a man advanced in years. Grimacing in pain with each tiny step.
As soon as Zach’s eyes met mine, he broke down. I dropped my bag and hugged him. Through his sobs I couldn’t understand his words.
How did I not know he was this hurt? He battled his opponent for the ball at one point, ending up on the ground with a bloody nose, and was out for the rest of the game. But this? Hurt to the point he can’t walk? How did I miss he was in this much pain??
Here was my son, in my embrace with pain-filled tears and sobs you never hear from seventeen year old… unless he’s in excruciating pain.
This mother’s concern for her hurting child engulfed me.
I wanted to fix it. But, how?
Many people walked by us. Most people tried to ignore us. Really, what do you do with the scene of a seventeen year old hugging his mom and sobbing? It’s not cool to hug your mom like that, and boys aren’t supposed to cry. Right? The scene was probably so awkward for most people.
But not for two young guys.
These two had nothing to do with soccer, yet had everything to do with our son.
They did what no one else was willing to do. These two noticed Zach–without any awkwardness, they stopped what they were doing (celebrating the big win), and turned their focus to their friend in need, right when he needed them the most. Kindness and compassion flowed out of these two.
One was Zach’s good friend. The other was his cousin.
Zach’s friend helped him walk to the locker room. That sight about brought me to tears. He walked with our family to our car, carried what he could for us, and asked if he could do anything else to help. He wished Zach well as we were leaving.
Zach’s cousin retrieved a bag of ice for him for the ride home, and offered further help.
You know, these two guys get it. I learned much from watching them. Isn’t it interesting how teenagers can influence us adults in such positive ways… and even teach us a thing or two?! (Smile.) It’s about time I lift my eyes off my own circumstances, notice others who have a need, and fill it.
And my son? He’s healing from a gluteal injury. We are thankful it wasn’t more serious. As his mom, I’m also thankful Zach has these two guys in his life!
Thank you, Zach M. and Justin!