A couple years ago, clear back when Arden was three or four, we toured a little Civil War battle site, the Battle of Hartsville. Heard of it? Probably not, and that 's okay. The tour consists of nothing more than a few hundred feet of walking trail overlooking a hay field, explanatory signs and a couple of roadside markers. That was Arden's first battle field he'd visited since becoming a fully conscious human being. He was impressed. Awed. He rode along in the van digesting what he had seen, planning for the future, then asked the impossible:
"Mom, will you watch my first battle?"
Tomorrow begins soccer pre-season here at our house. The Coach is excited. Recruiting went well last year and things are looking up. Tonight the team did "FWOC," which is Fun Without Coaches, just in case, like me, you had no idea. Team bonding. One stop was at our home. (So technically it's not totally devoid of coaches.) Bryan and I met them on the front porch, walked up the driveway to the backyard with them and then our kids ambushed them with Nerf guns. Bryan and I laughed when someone screamed (I know the grammar's wrong, but this is what she said), "There's more." Four, a veritable horde.
A sophomore was was suddenly standing there beside me. Purple hair. Art major. A clumsy butterfly covering her face from the face painting activity. When she arrived she had said, "A butterfly, of all things!" There were some rocky times last year, days of not knowing where she stood. But tonight in the dusk she reminded me that someone is always listening. At some point last year I must have told the story of Arden's dream of glory. People take away from every moment more than we realize. What are we giving?
Tonight in the dusk she said, "It's his first battle, and you're here to see it."