What it would it be like to be in the 5th grade again? There actually are events that occurred during my 5th grade year at Wind Point Elementary School that still stand out to me, but they are becoming fewer and fewer as the years go by. Earlier this week I had a conversation with a gentleman who is a few years my senior regarding events that took place when he was in the 5th grade.
He was playing on some kind of city league football team in Midland, Texas. The day of the big game arrived. He was given the ball by the quarterback. There were teammates no doubt blocking for him as he headed straight for the end zone. While he was carrying the football and running his heart out, another event was taking place on the sidelines that could not be ignored.
His mother was running alongside him. Well not exactly…. His mother actually beat him to the end zone and was awaiting his arrival with both hands in the air signifying a legitimate touchdown. It was one of those moments in her life as a mother that she could not help herself. Impulse just took over.
The young man’s mother felt some sense of remorse after the game was over, and her adrenaline had time to come back down to earth. She asked her son if she had embarrassed him by standing in the end zone communicating to every player and fan that the touchdown was indeed good. No…he told her. That did not embarrass him. What did embarrass him was the fact that his mother out ran him over the course of about 40 yards!
He has grown children of his own now, but that memory is still as clear as if it happened yesterday. He relayed that story to me the day after his mother died very unexpectedly. It strikes me that there were any number of stories he could have shared about his mother the day after her death. But he chose the one about his experience playing football in the 5th grade. I think I have some inking why that memory came to the surface very quickly.
Dedicated mothers are good runners. They even have the ability to run ahead of their children, when needed. It is starts when a child is an infant. His mother gets up ahead of him and heats a bottle or prepares for breastfeeding. If a mother thinks her child is threatened in some other way, she can run interference at a pace that any NFL player would envy. That same mother can run faster than an Olympian if their toddler is venturing too close to the street. And they run ahead to the end zone, so they can be there first to give their child recognition and encouragement. God just created moms to be good runners.
Tomorrow I will make an attempt to honor that gentleman’s mother at her funeral service. There is no shortage of good things to say about her. What I need to say to him personally is that a man never relinquishes the need for his mother to run ahead of him. Those of us who have lost our mothers know that to be true. You still run the race of life, but you miss having the security of knowing your mother is running ahead of you eager to recognize your accomplishments.
My encouragement to young moms is this: Don’t hold back. Don’t hesitate to run the length of the football field. Look ahead and anticipate what is coming, so you can be prepared to dole out words of wisdom that will prepare your child for what awaits him ahead. And if you embarrass him in the process, it is really not a problem. Not only will he get over it, but he might just remember it over 40 years later.
Tomorrow several of us will honor the life of Helen Kimbro. What a privilege it will be to celebrate the life of a wonderful lady, who consistently made the choice to run ahead…