I was so optimistic. I thought today would be different from the other days and games of the past. I planned to have a nice relaxing day. I would savor this precious time with my sons without interruptions
or intrusions into our personal lives. It often seemed that instead of watching my boys play soccer, I spent most of the game answering questions from complete strangers about how old are they, who and where is their mother, when were they born, and so on.. I honestly didn’t mind it at first, but soon the never-ending barrage of personal questions grated on my nerves, intrusive questions from people I had never met, people who never would have spoken to me otherwise.
To help facilitate this particular soccer day and insure that it would go as planned, I tried to prepare for every conceivable situation that could arise to rain on our day. I made sure my sons looked totally different from one another, at least from a distance.-from their shoes up to their different haircut styles. I even asked the coach not to put them all in the game at the same time so as not to bring attention to them. Yes, I said to myself, it’s game time, and so far so good!
Suddenly, the roar of soccer moms brought me to my feet. My son Deandre had possession of the ball and appeared to be on his way to score his first goal of the year. I rose to my feet, my hands clenched in anticipation of this momentous accomplishment. He swerved the ball to the right, then he swerved the ball to the left; he lined up the shot and kicked with all his five year old might. It was the greatest kick that I had ever seen, but it went wide right, and the crowd moaned.
My son turned around and searched the bleachers for me. When his eyes met mine, he said with a huge smile, “Daddy, did you see that? I almost got a goal!” He ran back towards his own goal as if he’d scored the winning goal for Team USA in the World Cup. I couldn’t stop smiling at him! As I thought to myself, what a great day, gingerly a lady strolled over to me and said, “Excuse me, are those your triplets? I wouldn’t wish that kind of headache on anybody.” I never turned my attention to her, or responded to her comment, but an instant flash back into my past brought goose bumps on my arms.
My mind was flooded with memories of events long gone by. I was suddenly in the operating room watching in complete amazement as my wife gave birth to three miraculous babies! Then, I flashed forward from that moment to the blur of countless sleepless nights and endless diaper changes. We had somehow survived all that. How many nights did I spend at the hospital because of fevers or ear infections? How many times did I load up the SUV and go for a drive to put the boys to sleep? I remembered it all, like it just happened yesterday. It seems like back then, the bad things stuck out more than the good, but those were the times that helped make me a better parent. Then, I pointed to my son as he giggled and waved at me as he ran by. As I smiled and waved back to my son, I said, “That’s just one point of view. I wouldn’t trade that headache for all the money in the world.”