Oftentimes, I am running after Roo, trying to help him, guide, de-escalate him – so when the opportunity arises to just be there for one of my other kids I move heaven and earth to be there. I am at a football game; my oldest boy is on the team. I am there to support him, to cheer him on, to just be there. On this night I have the two little’s with me, my daughter is completely enthralled by the cheerleaders and they are occupying all of her senses. Roo on the other hand not so much.
Football stadiums are loud and crowded; tonight even more so than normal. Our team has won two back to back state championships, and we are playing the one team we have never beaten. The crowd isn’t even trying to contain itself. I knew it would be this way and so I waited till half time to go in. I know Roo can’t stay in the stands, it all too much for him. I start to scan my surroundings; I need a spot where I can see J, Sissy can see the cheerleaders and Roo can just be. There on the north end zone, the perfect spot!
We get over there, get comfortable, and relax – sort of! Let’s face it, parents never truly relax. Sissy is copying all the cheers, giving it her all, Roo is trying to compact himself as much as possible. At some point some other kids, younger kids are horsing around, running up and down, that sort of stuff. Roo wants to join in. I say no, let’s see if we can find bubby on the field. At some point, he gets up and starts to reenact the tackles on the field. He is not hurting anyone and he’s not freaking out so I let him be.
I spend much of the 2nd half of the game corralling Roo, keeping him occupied, listening to his stories, keeping his gangly arms and legs out of the reach of anyone else, and I do get the rare opportunity to clap for my oldest. I am there and that is enough. At the end of the game the team, coaches and parents all like to huddle on the field and pray. It’s nice and we avoid it at all costs, because there are way too many people. Unfortunately, they are huddling in our end zone tonight. I am trying to keep a handle on Roo all while looking for J and maintaining a level of awareness for Sissy. And, my nightmare begins. There are too many people, too much noise, and he’s gone.
I am frantically searching through a sea of red shirts, trying desperately to find my boy. He’s gone, he’s nowhere. Oh, Lord! Please, Please help me! I have to find him. I can’t find him and I have now lost sight of Sissy too. She’s smart; she goes to the goal post and stays. I come out of the mob and there he is.
It’s the most amazing sight! He’s playing football! I mean really playing football!There are about 6 boys including him, all around the ages of 7 or 8 and they have an empty mountain dew bottle and they are playing football. Roo is playing with other kids and he’s actually playing and he’s really kind of good at it!!! I stand there in awe for awhile watching my clumsy, awkward middle child, run like the wind, laughing, playing, included. I tell him it’s time to go, and he doesn’t throw a fit. He runs over, grinning from ear to ear; as one of the other boys says see you at school Monday! Amazing!
I have forgotten that he was lost; I am so overwhelmed at the sight of him being included and putting himself out there, that the fact that he was lost is not even a distant memory.