• easpenner

Sidelined

Updated: Jul 28

Oh, sweet mamas. You know the saying, “Mothers hold their children’s hands for a while, but their hearts forever”… Sigh. These words are so t.o.t.a.l.l.y. hitting home right now. To my core.

In one of my previous posts, I had written about embracing this current season of life. And while we are still holding steady in this season, there are always constant changes, twists and turns around every corner. Right now is no exception. We are in the thick of it at this time. The juggling. Preschool. Sports practices. Work. Saturday soccer games. And it’s requiring more and more of an act of “letting go” from this protective mama. In order to allow my precious beings the opportunities to experience the “real world” for themselves.


Oh, beautiful souls. To say that releasing their little hands from mine is scary, is an understatement. Suddenly, with an anxious and eager heart, I find myself more and more on the sidelines, watching. Instead of being their only teacher. Guiding. And instructing. Now, instead, I find myself holding my breath. Whispering short, sweet, under-my-breath prayers above. Asking for protection of their little hearts. Guidance of their steps. (Or their careless bounds…) Wishing for their courage and bravery, to grab a hold of life.

And explore it. With dirty hands. A loosened ponytail. And a vigor all their own.

Last Saturday morning provided just-such an opportunity for me. To literally stand on the sidelines. Behind that thick white line. Flashing like a special kind of in-my-face caution tape, that I could not cross. And watch my sweet, feisty, take-on-the-world Monkey experience one of those life adventures. In her very first soccer game. I could not wait. But I could completely sense a change in her spirits as we drove the ten minutes to the game fields…

Nervous was an understatement. She did not say o.n.e. w.o.r.d. on the way to her game. Her typical, continuous smiles in my rearview mirror were nonexistent. And as we walked onto the crowded fields, searching for her team, she was quietly glued to my side. This remained her stance for the next hour.


She locked up, precious friends. Completely froze. The ultimate case of stage-fright. From the most go-getting babe I know. She wanted to quit. To go home. But we didn’t let her. We knew she had to get through this experience to push through her anxiety and be able to actually enjoy the activity about which she had been beyond excited for, over the past few weeks. Luckily, she has wonderful, patient coaches. Who literally held her hand, every step of the game.

As her mama, it took e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. in me not to run out to grab her, swoop her up, smother her with hugs and kisses, and run up-and-down the field with her, hand-in-hand. Although we were right there with her the entire time (thanks to Daddy-to-the-rescue); we knew this was something she had to push through herself. While we stood by, as support. From the sidelines. And she did. It wasn’t easy for her. Or me. But she made it through.

Of course, as soon as we got back to the car, she was as sassy and revved up as usual. Allowing us to breathe a sigh of relief.

And I quickly realized; some things don’t change…

We are still in the season of chicken nuggets. And quartered grapes. Wasting too much paper on art creations. Colorful play-dough trails. Glitter explosions. Baby doll sleepovers. Arguing over who gets to go first. But within this season can also be found boundary-pushing. Water-testing. Trying fresh adventures. Discovering new interests. Letting go of Mommy’s and Daddy’s hands little-by-little. Only to independently explore those experiences, yet run straight back to those familiar, comforting arms, when the unfamiliar becomes too much. As we find ourselves waiting anxiously for their return.


And if that’s my given role in this current season of life; to be those warm, waiting arms on the sidelines…ready to wipe away crocodile tearswhisper sweet words of bravery and encouragementand tightly embrace a broken heartthen I could not feel more blessed to fulfill this responsibility, as a proud (and nervous) mama, with a grateful, beaming heart.

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