This week our family is dealing with loss. No, not a loss on the field, loss of life. We had to come to the very difficult decision to put our nearly 16 year old spaniel-pointer to sleep forever. She was the final part of our lives that came before our children. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to do this as a family, but the last time we only had two children and they were both babies. Our kids are old enough now to understand and share in our emotions.
Why am I sharing something so personal with you? Mostly because writing helps, but more importantly this blog is called Sports, Love & Family. The loss of this dog has everything to do with Love & Family. And as cheeky as it may seem, we can always bring what happens in our lives back to sports.
A dog is a family companion, they are always there for you, no matter what. They love you unconditionally, good day or bad day. And this made me realize, it’s much like what us parents are for our little athletes. Our kids rely on us to be there for them good game or bad game. Always cheering them on from the stands. One day our little athletes won’t be little athletes any more. They won’t need us to truck them all over the state. They won’t need us to wash their dirty, stinky uniforms. They won’t need us to carry their equipment, because it’s too heavy. They won’t need us to cheer them along in every situation. They will grow up and no longer need us as much. This realization hurts, much like losing a family pet.
So, I’m going to tell you what lots of people preach in this digital-age. Be in the moment. Be in the moment when your child is on that field or on the court. Be present. Be present for them, even if it’s the last thing you want to do in that very moment. My daughter just tested me on this. Much like Mama, she’s a writer. She wrote about her experience that day we had to say goodbye to our dog. She wanted me to listen to it. Emotionally I knew I couldn’t handle it, but I also knew this was part of her grieving process. So, I put my phone down, and my emotions aside and let her read me her account of that day. It was so hard, but she was so happy to share it with me.
I’m vowing to be more present for my family. To enjoy all the moments, good and not so good. One thing being a sport-parent has taught me is that my kids want me to see them doing what they love. Whether it’s a good game or bad game, they want me there. I’m like the family dog, I’m always there for them no matter what.