I sat in my car early that morning, relaxed in the crisp air as the sun made its way into the sky and watched as quiet, sleepy children and coffee toting parents made their way to the football fields that would be our “home” for much of the day. Our own son was warming up with his team and Hubby would be bringing the rest of the troops when the first game started at 9, and so I had a brief period of rare solitude. And then it shattered.
Before I saw you, I heard you
You dropped so many F-bombs in 60-second period I lost count
“you should have been a girl, because you are acting like one”
A boy about 9 stands outside the truck, gearing up for a day of football
A child I cannot see receives the venomous diatribe
Coming around the corner of her truck, we lock eyes
I am embarrassed for her, humiliated for her son, I drop my eyes
It doesn’t stop
Clenched jaw, uncensored words
A door slammed
Shut up. I am not even talking to you. Shut the F up.
I am frozen to my seat.
My eyes tear.
Kids push buttons. Parents are stressed. Tempers flare. Who will be the grown up?
I’ve been here. Not the F-bomb. Not stupid. But clenched jaws. Unkind words. Unloving actions.
I’ve been here. I’ve been 9. You are a pig. You are a crybaby. My father walks away.
We can be so awful to each other.
A door opens. A sweaty head, tear-stained, furious boy of 9 stomps to the rear of the truck.
The silent brother hands him his equipment.
The mother continues to berate. They walk away.
I am still frozen. But my heart and my mind are praying.
Soften our hearts, Lord. Help us to heal. Open our eyes, Lord. Help us to see.
I look for them throughout the morning and come up empty.
My mind continues to spin. The devil taunts my cowardice. My heart aches.
Game 1 over, I leave with my daughters while husband and son watch Game 2.
Sitting in the car, I tear out paper from a notebook, I write a letter.
I do not judge. Parenting is hard. I do not know the circumstances.
I do know what is right and what is wrong. I do know what sears the soul.
I encourage forgiveness, healing. I pray. I bless. I leave the letter on the windshield.
I leave the rest to God.
Did I do the right thing? Will it make it worse? Will she apologize? Will he forgive?
I may never know.
He sees all.