There are two kinds of moms in the world. Moms that were born to mother daughters and those that were meant to mother sons. I’ve always known I was the latter. I don’t mind dirt and bugs and wrestling in the house – I’d prefer those things weren’t in my house, but it doesn’t bother me when they appear. In fact, I enjoy kicking off my shoes and engaging in an impromptu foot race through the dirt or rolling down a hill into a pile of leaves. I prefer wearing sneakers to heels, and I refuse to wear hose.
One Saturday in March, I enjoyed a proud-mother-of-a-son moment at the GSA soccer field. As my older son fervently ran up and down the field, my 7-year old struggled to climb over the chain-link fence separating one field from another. Other boys climbed up and hopped over, but my little one kept falling back in frustration. After a few failed attempts, my husband said, “When you get to the top, grab the bar and push yourself up with straight arms. Then step on the bar with one foot and you can swing over to the other side.”
Miraculously, my son climbed to the top, pushed himself onto straight arms, stepped on the bar and jumped over onto the ground below. My heart swelled with pride as I shouted, “Good job, Man!” and turned back to the game.
The following Sunday, I drove my older son and his teammate to a game about an hour away. It was a cold and rainy day, so I sat in the car on the edge of the field and tooted my horn whenever they made a good play. At the end of the game, my son and his friend raced to the car, got in and we headed home. The next morning, he came to me and asked, “Have you seen my cleats, Mom?” Red flag alert. Warning, warning.
For any other child, this wouldn’t be a major problem. Cleats missing? Just buy new ones and keep it moving. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for us. My son has to special order his cleats because his feet are extra wide and flat. Additionally, he has special orthotic inserts that were made for him by a therapist in Maryland.
Like any good mother, I asked the coach, emailed the other kids’ parents, and even the called the other team’s coach to see if anyone had picked them up. No luck. Unfortunately, no one had a telephone number to the soccer field either. So, I got in my car during a 2-hour break between appointments that Monday morning and drove 45 minutes to the field. When I got there, the field was closed and locked… by a 6-foot chain link fence. I parked my car, got out and stared at the fence. Could I squeeze through the small opening between the two fences that were chained together? I tried and the immediate answer was... no.
Taking a deep breath, I grabbed the fence with both hands and poked the toe of my left sneaker into one of the links. I talked to myself all the way up the fence… “come on, you can do this. Pretend like you’re on the Amazing Race.” You know, stuff like that. When I got to the top bar, my husband’s voice came into my head like Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. “When you get to the top, grab the bar and push yourself up with straight arms.” My arms were shaking from the climb, but I DID IT! I stepped on the top bar like he said, but there was NO WAY I was gonna jump down 6 feet – I’m not the Bionic Woman or the Six Million Dollar Man. So I gingerly stepped over onto a metal support bar and jumped 4 feet down instead.
It would have been great if the adventure ended there, but you know it didn’t. The field was more than a quarter mile away and my time was running out. I jogged across the parking lot and gingerly picked my way over the muddy field to the bench where the team had sat the day before. No cleats. Nothing. I sighed and turned around to go back, when it hit me. I would have to scale that fence again to get back to my car, and there was no support rail on the other side. I’m a praying woman, so prayer seemed appropriate at that moment.
Amazingly, as I jogged back, a truck came lumbering down the drive and parked behind my car. At first, I thought someone had seen me and reported me to the police and they were coming to drag me away for trespassing. But no, it was the Port-a-Potty clean-up man. He unlocked the chain and opened the fence, and I thought I heard angels singing and playing harps at that very moment. Not only did he let me out, but he also had a telephone number that went directly to the field director.
Some people might say this story is nothing more than luck, but I know a few things:
- I have never scaled a fence in my life and I have never received instructions on how to do it. One week after I hear instructions on how to scale a fence, I had to do it.
- I would have broken something I need to walk if I had jumped off that fence to the other side. The cleaning company came and unlocked the fence just as I prayed for assistance.
- No one had a telephone number for the park and none was posted at the fields. The clean up man had a direct number to the Director of the field, and the Director was able to check the lost-and-found.
Call it what you want, but I didn’t miss the power of multiple coincidences. And, as always, I’m thankful for small blessings.