Monday, January 17, 2011

The Eye Thing (Part One): Letting Go

I didn’t see the shot because Zay sent a cascade of Skittles down the bleachers. But when I looked up, Grant was injured, bent over, hand over his eye. Then he stretched upright and stood under the basket, shoulders rigid and tight.

“What happened?” I asked Dad.

“Jabbed in the eye, blocking a shot.”


Grant walked to the bench as the crowd clapped. Then he sat down. But he continued to press his palm into his eye. His face turned a deep shade of red. When he dropped his head downward, I knew he was in pain.

“I’m going over,” I said. The game had resumed, but I could walk around the court, to the other side of the gym.

“No,” Dad said. “Better wait.”

The coach knelt beside Grant, pushed his head back, and peered into his eye. They exchanged a few words and the coach went back to coaching. Grant pulled his water bottle from under the bench and pressed it to his face.

“He’s not okay. I know. I’m going over,” I said.

Dad put his hand on my knee. His gesture spoke silent words. In sixth grade, during football, Grant made a tackle. An opponent landed on him, and his arm snapped. I learned, from that experience, that junior high boys do not want Mom hovering.

But it was instinct – to want to run over. To care for my child.

I pushed my back against the wall. Kept my eyes on my son. Prayed. At one point, my two eyes connected with Grant’s good one. There was something there. A little boy look. But he was a six-foot-something guy. A junior high guy. And junior high was all about being cool. Fitting in. Looking good. Being tough.

I didn’t fit, at that moment, into the plan.

Grant didn’t watch the rest of the quarter. He looked down. He stayed on his bench, and I stayed on mine.

At half-time, I walked across the court to care for my son. Much later than I wanted.

But sometimes loving means letting go.

Even if it's one quarter at a time.

Help me, Father, to know when to rush forward and when to hold back. Give me wisdom as I raise my teens.


  1. I can sure relate to this one, Shawnelle. You are so wonderful at capturing feelings on paper! I look forward to every entry on your blog. (And as an eye doctor's wife, I'm anxious for part II!!)

  2. Thanks, Sharon and Teresa, for the sweet encouragement. You are precious...and Sharon...I almost called you!

  3. That is so hard to sit back and not take action. To trust the coach to make the right call for your son. Not to kiss it and make it all better. I hope his eye is healing.