The lights dim and the video rolls. Out from the tunnel the team emerges.
There is my Nicole, dressed in red University of Oklahoma warm-ups, curled hair pulled back in a ponytail with a thick, black headband to hold it all in place.
I watched my daughter play an official home game as a Sooner last Sunday night.
It was the first I’ve been able to attend so far this season.
She played wonderfully.
And I didn’t shed a tear!
Afterwards our family went to dinner and proceeded to engage in passionate conversation, which is simply a nice way of describing our typical Kornet loud, often confrontational, dialogue. We usually linger for a good hour almost every time we gather around the table as a family, talking religion and sports, stories from school, questions about sex, drinking, and other tricky topics. And we laugh. A lot.
But during this particular talk fest, I found myself feelings things I’d never felt before: I witnessed my daughter maturing right before my eyes, especially when she spoke about the new friends she’s making in college. She is meeting girls with diverse religious backgrounds and values. She is learning to love and accept the good in people, even if they indulge in activities she doesn’t think are right. She is experiencing the pain of believing in what’s right and wrong, and being one of the few trying to act on those beliefs.
We finished the evening at a local custard shop
where Nicole and I were laughing so hard, we literally almost fell over while
standing on the sidewalk, saying our goodbyes.
She shared how her teammates make fun of how boisterously she laughs and admitted: “Mom, I laugh just like you. I see myself becoming more like you every day!”
But my favorite moment was watching her 6’9″ daddy pick up his 6’1″ little girl, hug her with all his might, and tell her how much he loves her, how well she played that afternoon, and how proud he is of her.
Luke then followed, leaning down with a bear hug and a “Grandma kiss” on the cheek, which triggered more laughs.
I leapt in with a huge hug and kiss, too.
I could have stayed there all night on that sidewalk–all three of us surrounding Nicole with the kind of love every child should experience.
For me, one of the greatest gifts of motherhood is watching my children enjoy a childhood I could have only dreamed about. And I am oh, so grateful for this second chance.