in the stands

by Kristen

My brothers and I were pretty involved—we had full schedules from the time we hit kindergarten straight through twelfth grade: soccer, baseball, dance, softball, trumpet, piano, band, wrestling . . . plus school and church.

And somehow my parents were always there. I don’t know how they did it.

Especially by the time we were in junior and senior high. Our events often had conflicting times at far flung locations, when neither parent should have been off work. But they were there. In the stands.

A few times in high school as I took the field in softball, I’d think they weren’t coming, but then I’d hear my mom’s voice or I’d catch sight of my dad pacing behind the dugout.

I can’t think of a single time I was on the field or stage without one or both of them in the audience. I had the smallest clue at the time that their presence was significant and maybe even sacrificial.

But I did not understand the degree of schedule juggling and time it took for them to be at everything we did. I didn’t realize how many hours my dad worked after we’d gone to bed or before we got up—I’d see his bulging briefcase, but I didn’t grasp the volume he brought home so he could be present for us. I didn’t understand the dance my mom did to have meals ready when she’d just raced from work to a field somewhere to home and still dinner was on the table.

I didn’t know at the time their presence was short-hand for “I love you.”


This post is part of the 31 Days: Family series. Read the beginning, and see a full index of posts, here.

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