While I was growing up, Sundays always meant football. We would hang out on the couch, eat, and watch games all day. My dad taught me all the hand motions and what position did what. I learned when to cheer and when to yell at the screen. Football was a big part of our family. It’s even how I ‘officially’ announced to my whole family. Little football socks and a note exclaiming: We’ll be getting another little football fan in April.
Jensen’s life was pretty surrounded by football as well. The day I found out we went to a preseason game. On Friday nights we went to watch my high school play under the lights. We went to a few Steelers game throughout the winter. He kicked every time I cheered, but never an uncomfortable kick. I paced around watching the Steelers play the Bengals last year and yelled at the screen. His tapping of his feet calmed me down. I unintentionally picked the Super Bowl champs colors for his nursery, even after my dad said he should have had a Steelers room. But most importantly, every Sunday of last season, I sat and watched the games with him like I did growing up.
We talked about the game just like always and in my mind I hoped he was listening, getting all the answers early on.
There’s certain days throughout grief where you know it’s going to be hard; like Tuesdays and the fifth of every month for me. Then there are other days, where it pushes you on the ground. Days where you don’t think it will bother you as much and yet that hole in your heart seems to just scream out at you. Those are Sundays for me. The ones where I’m watching the game and my family is surrounding me. Yet, there isn’t a little boy dressed in black and yellow crawling all around. My dad will never be able to teach Jensen all the calls and let him know when to yell at the refs. I’ll never be asked to buy him so-and-so’s jersey. Heck, I don’t even know what team he’d really love (even though I think he’d like the Steelers as well).
When I woke up this morning, I was looking forward to tonight’s game. It’s given me something to focus on other than this intense grief I have each and every day. I went into his room and sat on the futon when I first woke up. Sitting there I realized how instead of just sitting there, I would be dressing him in a little sweat outfit. We’d do our daily routine and head over to my parents house. Then it’d be like all those Sundays I had always had. The Sundays I dreamed of Jensen having during football season.
I think about how different this picture should be. How there should be a smiling (almost) ten month old in this picture or someone taking a picture of me holding him. We’d probably be matching. He’d probably roll his eyes at me when he would be older with all the pictures I’d have taken of him by then, even more if we were matching. In these little moments I never have, I can smile. I smile of knowing he was able to experience parts of this life I wanted him to while his was growing inside of me. Imagining his happiness makes me smile. Knowing he wants me to smile on these days full of grief, makes me want to smile for him.
Jensen, I hope you’re shouting ‘Go Steelers’ while waving a huge, bright yellow Terrible Towel today and that you come to sit beside me on their couch. I would do anything to have just one Sunday of football with you, but I know I’ll find moments today full of you. Those are the moments I live for.