Amy's senior year corresponded with my second year of teaching and my first year at MCHS. She was the president of MWC Spirit Council and her best friend, Annie, was our Vice President. These gorgeous blonde-headed spitfires taught me how to organize and put on a lights-out assembly, their school pride and commitment to legacy seconded only by their desire to win.
This weekend, Amy invited us to watch her oldest son, Houston, play in a baseball tournament here in Tulsa. The smiles in these pictures capture Amy's truest nature, always beaming, always bigger than life, always grander - until it's time to compete. Then she's twice as fierce as her petite feminine frame should allow. Domineering and exacting, she hollers and yells at and for her team as if "Coach" had always been written on the back of her shirt between her shoulders. It's a Bomber thing; they hate to lose.
Joey and I love baseball, so joining Amy, Hope, and Houston at the ballpark today presented us with an easy exit from our home. The game, characterized by the challenges and successes that can only occur in thirteen and under baseball, traded the lead back and forth between the two teams. Finally, with time expired and extra innings begun, the lights came on for young Mr. Houston. In the top of the inning from behind the plate, he threw a zip-line from home to second to grab the third out and silence the opponents attempt to steal second base and place a runner in scoring position. Then in the bottom of the same inning, with the winning run on second base, Houston stepped up to the plate and spanked one down the right field line sending the winning run over the plate.
When Amy was done climbing the fence, she walked over to me, smiling and laughing, hugging my neck. The pride we mothers have in our babes overwhelms us sometimes and soon her laughter turned into sobs, such a fine line between happiness and grief, such is the knot that unites our lives.
Hope, Amy's soon-to-be five year old daughter, who is every bit the firecracker her mama ever thought about being, wasted no attempt to wrap her arms around neck and rest her head on my shoulder. I took every opportunity to pick her up, turn her upside down and listen to her beg for me to "do it one more time!" Additionally, as soon as the MVP of the day exited the field, Houston immediately offered, "Happy Mother's Day!" to me. He's thirteen and he just played out of his shoes and he has that kind of courtesy to offer an old lady he sees twice a year. Clearly, Amy is an amazing mama.
My mama always reminded me that when sorrow carves a cavern in our hearts, it simultaneously creates a deeper chamber for the joy you have missed. So when joy flows, you hold the capacity for more.
I left O'Brien park with a full heart and felt that thread we had knotted together over two decades ago sew our hearts together creating a new beautiful patchwork, designing joy and sorrow, trimming friendship with the brocade of motherhood.
When my students become my light...and my oldest and dearest friends..