I don't like football. I never have and I really don't believe I ever will. I don't understand how to play and I have the hardest time following what is happening on the very rare occasions that I do attempt to watch it. But today...today my son played his very first game of Upward flag football. And I loved every second of it. I loved watching him follow the coaches instructions, run around on the field with a big smile on his face, play super heroes on the sideline while he wasn't in the game, run after an opponent with the ball some times, stand and watch his opponent run with the football with a big smile on his face other times, and even make his very first touchdown from the far side of the field. Kindergarten football is full of innocence. They don't always care that the other team has the ball and just might score a touch down. And even when the other team does score, they still run around with a big smile on their faces. I feel like I saw real joy on Carter's face today. He was proud of himself. I was proud of him. My heart was beaming as he ran with that football tucked in his arms toward his first touch down. Every parent who knew him was yelling "go Carter, go Carter" and parents who didn't know him were cheering him on too. It was a fun moment. I don't like football. But I really like my five year old football player. And I really like watching him play football. His football career will continue as he chooses until he can no longer play flag football. Mark my words...we will not be a tackle football family. But for now, football is fun.
But my favorite part of Carter's first football game was the star ceremony after. Upward is a Christian based organization that does devotionals at each practice and encourages and rewards every kid, every game for sportsmanship, team work, great attitudes, and Christ like behavior. After every game all the kids and parents go into a room in the church for snack and for the star ceremony where each child gets a star sticker for something they did during that game. One of their stars is the Christ like star. They said they won't give it out every game and it is for one special kid during some games that exemplifies Christ like behavior. My Carter man got that today. His coach said he loved how Carter did everything he was told without question. He didn't tell his coaches what he wanted to do but rather just did what he was told with a great attitude. My son doesn't know much about football but he still played with heart and followed his coaches instructions perfectly. I am so thankful for that award today for him. I am so thankful he showed a Christ like character on the field today. He shined bright during his game today. It sure didn't last all day and we were still dealing with normal five year old naughty behavior at other points during the day. But during his football game, he shined. And I couldn't be more proud. I don't want to sound like a prideful mom. But I feel like this day was worthy of documenting for the future. I have a lot of hard days with Carter. I will look back at today and remind myself that he really is an awesome kid who still sins. He has great days with awesome milestones that make me smile bigger than I knew I could. For all the hard days and hard moments with my son, today reminded me that I am not a failure as a mom. I am the farthest from perfect, but I'm not a failure. And for the last couple of weeks I have felt like I am failing as a mom with my son. We are in a rough patch. I want to be real about the rough patches. They are hard. They are miserable at times. I cry over his behavior sometimes. But I am not failing. I am doing my very best and Carter is a shining star at times. God has given him a heart of compassion and joy. I love the days that those two great qualities shine bright. Sometimes they are hidden for a while and I wonder if we will get through the day. But they are there. He is a great kid and I am a mom who loves her son very much. I am so thankful for today. I am thankful for the chance to see him shine bright on the football field and be an example of Christ.