Do you regret that decision you made?
I hope you do.
I have to believe you do.
Because there is no way my mind can conceive that if you had thought, really thought, for just a split second that leaving equalled you missing today–today and all of the other todays–that you wouldn’t have made a different decision.
Today, your Mac walked out onto a football field in a gold jersey with his name spelled wrong on the back, right above the number 49.
He has his very own number. He is not wearing a number that will force him to walk in his daddy’s shadow. He’s not wearing a number that will allow him to walk in yours. He’s not even wearing a combination of his two favorite numbers–54 and 10–just because it would be a reminder of his two very favorite football heroes.
He’s wearing his very own. Well, his, and Patrick Willis‘.
Our own #49 did all of the things that you knew he would do. He hustled. He tackled. He messed up. He threw some boys down. He got thrown down. He got back up.
It was 9,000 degrees outside while watching him play, and for once, I was grateful for the scorching August sun. It probably sounds crazy, but if I had been comfortable, I would have been so much more aware of how empty that fence was in front of me.
Instead, I was sweltering, as was everyone else around me, and the heat was almost all I could think about.
In moments, I could see you there, at the fence. Kahki shorts, that t-shirt with the fish on the back, and your Crocs.
In moments, I could hear you there, yelling to Mac that he had done a good job.
In moments, I could see you making your way around the fence to the other side of field. I can see your gait, that brisk walk, with one hand in your pocket, and even if I couldn’t hear them, I would know there were coins clinking together in that pocket, getting to your boy. I can see you standing beside Scott, dissecting #49’s position, his stance, his agility, his instinct.
And when he tackled that kid for a loss, I can almost see you walk back over to me, wearing a sly, knowing grin, laughing that little laugh, and shaking your head at the pure delight of it, shaking your head in amazement, shaking your head in excitement….because you just watched what you always knew you would watch.
When it was over, Mac was so proud, but don’t think for a second that he didn’t recognize that empty fence, too.
He asked me if I saw all of those plays in which he did something well. “Did you see me make that big tackle? Charles would have LOVED that. I wish he could have seen it.”
He wasn’t crying when he said it. He told me not to cry. I sucked it back the very best I could.
But he noticed the fence, too.
He will never NOT notice the fence.
It was the emptiest fence I have ever seen in my entire life.
Almost, Daddy. You were almost there.
Two months, and you would have seen something you waited your entire adult life to see.
Certainly, you waited for the last nine years.
It is inconceivable to me that you really didn’t want to stick around, even just for two more measly months, to see that.
To see that golden boy of yours do what you knew he was going to do.
Instead, you stole my football. Instead, you stole Mac’s.
Do you regret not seeing that today?
You have to. You HAVE to. I KNOW you have to.
You don’t just give up on dreams like that.
You don’t just give up on moments like that.
You don’t just forget that you have waited, at the very least, nine years to watch something happen and just not care when you are two months shy of actually getting to see it with your own two eyes.
You HAVE to regret it.
I don’t see how you can’t.
Because today was just one day, just one Mac-day.
There have been and will be countless others that are Leelee-days or Mama-days or Leigh-days or Anna-days or Scott-days…or me-days.
Days you would have been proud of.
Days you would have wanted to be a part of.
You were a part of ALL of our other days.
The ones now don’t matter all of a sudden?
That makes ZERO sense.
That is almost hilarious it is so ridiculous.
But it is so very, very far from funny.
It is just stupid.
I hope you are having a big time. I really do.
I hope that whatever you are doing is more exciting than watching your boy play football.
I sure as hell wish I knew what, to you, was better than that.
Because down here, down here where we all still are, there was nothing better to you than that.
Not one single thing.
I hope you regret your decision.
I hope you regret leaving us with that damn empty fence.
Because we sure do.