Monday, August 4, 2014

Mama's Open Hand

“Listen, if you need to go home, y’all go.”

That from Mama as Corbin and I were discussing the football coach’s text that popped up on Corbin's phone Saturday evening during dinner. Bottom line, he wanted Branson home for practice Monday morning.

We’d just arrived in Angel Fire that very afternoon, and our plan was to stay until Tuesday morning. Branson would miss the first two days of summer freshman football practice, but this was our “margin” - squeezing in two days in the mountains with family between Camp KUVU and football. I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt having Bran miss the first two days of practice. He’s played baseball all summer with practices and games nearly every day since the middle of May.

Baseball ended for us (both Bran and Hud’s teams) at the state tournament a couple of weeks ago, and five days later both boys were on the road to Durango for KIVU - a very, very welcome change of pace from our Fort Worth heat and routine.

So just a few hours after arriving in New Mexico, Corbin and I enjoyed a steak dinner with Mama and Papa at the Angel Fire Club while the kids relaxed at home with  pizza and a movie. That’s when Corbin received the coach’s text, explaining that according to UIL rules, if Branson missed even one practice, he wouldn’t be able to play in the first scrimmage next week.

We talked back and forth a bit, still thinking that Branson would just miss that scrimmage, when Jamie piped in her very generous response,
“If you all need to go home, then go. Absolutely do what you need to do.”

I looked across the table at her and said, “Mama, that is not what mother-in-loves are supposed to say.”

In an instant, without hesitation, she instinctively chose grace and sacrifice. With our unusually intense sports schedule the past couple of months, these were the only two days all summer she’d have our whole family there in the mountains. Mama’s generous response pained me, because I knew she wanted nothing more than those two days with us, especially once Cameron’s family returned the following day from a trip and we could all be together.

Once back at the house, Corbin ran the options past Branson, and he chose to return for practice. We supported him, and it broke the girls’ hearts to leave early. They shed tears over missing their two days of hiking and playing with cousins, and Bran realized his sacrifice of fly fishing in Cimmarron (Hudson got to stay for another couple of weeks as planned, lucky dog).

Right or wrong, it really doesn’t matter at this point. It’s about 11 pm as I type this, and we’ve still got three hours on 287 til home. Eight hours from now, Bran will be at the field house by 6:30 am. Without digressing into the pros and cons of summer sports schedules, I am most touched by Mama’s response, “If you need to go home, y’all go.”

Mama’s letting go makes me want to stay.
A brief lunch before we left for Texas

Exploring Mama and Papa's new property (Hud made a hasty exit on the 4-wheeler as we loaded up to leave)
Thank you, Mama (and Papa), for two decades of generous expectations with us. Since our wedding 18 years ago, you have given us tremendous grace and freedom.

Holding your hands open draws us closer.