Saying Goodbye

On August 13, 1993, I broke my nose.

The reason that I remember the date so well is because it was a FRIDAY THE 13th.  I was playing first base for our co-ed softball team.  A guy batted a line drive straight to our short stop, who was Sister’s Husband.  Only in 1993, he wasn’t Sister’s HUSBAND, because he was just Sister’s Boyfriend.  He snagged that line drive in his glove, and he threw it LIKE A ROCKET to me, over on first.

Now don’t go thinking that I took that ball to the face, because that’s not what happened.  Had I taken Sister’s Husband’s Boyfriend’s throw to my nose, I would be dead.  That ball was ON FIRE when it was thrown, because we were in the semi-final championship game, and we were a team that didn’t mess around with our scores.  We took our softball seriously, and guys on our team knew that they could THROW LIKE A MAJOR LEAGUE BALL PLAYER to me.

The throw from short stop was just a bit off.  To catch it, I was going to have to pull my foot off the bag by two full steps.  This was not a problem.  I grew up playing softball every year of my life, and I’ll just go ahead and state the facts:  I could have gone to the Olympics there!  If someone could throw the ball anywhere close to me… I could catch it.  And I caught that ball, two steps away from first base, on August 13th, 1993.

I was right beside the runner, so I swung my glove out at him to tag him, before he made it to the base.  He was as determined to remain SAFE as I was to have him OUT, so he sucked in his gut to avoid the tag (I was swinging for his belly, with the ball in my glove), and he threw both of his arms up in the air to get them out of the way…

… and that’s when he accidentally threw his elbow right into my face.

It knocked me out cold for a couple of minutes.

When I came to, I was sitting on my knees in the dirt, bent over, while my nose bled like a garden hose.  There was no drip-drip-dripping of blood involved; my nose was pouring gallons of blood out of both nostrils in a steady flow, like Hoover Dam had been broken.  The bridge of my nose had snapped; my nose was sitting beneath my left eyeball.  Our team pitcher was an EMT, and he’d secured a bag of ice from the concession stand and was totally ON DUTY when I regained consciousness, a couple of minutes after being knocked out.  I heard him explaining to my parents, who were kneeling there in the dirt with me, while he nearly suffocated me with a plastic bag full of ice that he was holding to my face, that I was going to need to head on up to the ER, because BROKEN, BROKEN, BROKEN.

And also BROKEN.

Apparently the fact that my nose was completely sitting under one eye was the dead giveaway.

I went to the ER with my parents… I bled all over the backseat of their car… and an X-ray confirmed that my nose was no longer situated in the center of my face, and YOU’RE GOING TO NEED SURGERY TO FIX THIS ONE.

A little while later, over half of our softball team showed up at the hospital, just to check on me.  They had won the game; we were advancing to the championship game, which we would go on to win.  (I had to watch that game from the bleachers.)  AND… someone brought my glove to the ER to return to me.  The ball that I’d caught from Sister’s Boyfriend-at-the-Time was still in it, and they announced that, once the game resumed, the umpire had called the runner OUT, because YES!!  I had indeed tagged the man before I was plowed in the face with his elbow.

I’m sure it was on ESPN’s highlights that night as THE PLAY OF THE DAY.

Anyway.

The broken nose wasn’t what I had planned on having, because girls just don’t consider themselves to be cute when they have two BLACK-AS-SIN eyes and a nose that isn’t where it should be.  Plus, my left eye swelled up bigger than the softball itself and was completely swollen shut for days.

I looked like I’d fought a train.

But… two days after my PLAY OF THE DAY, a really handsome boy with a fantastic mullet called to check on me.  I knew WHO he was, but I didn’t know him at all, as we’d never talked to one another.  He’d been in the stands that night, watching the semi-final game, and apparently he thought that I was cute… BEFORE MY FACE SWELLED AND CHANGED AND NEEDED PLASTIC SURGERY.  He introduced himself to me… I vaguely knew who he was… and he told me that he had just seen the accident, and he was calling to check on me.  I was actually supposed to play on HIS fall softball team, that would start right after the championship game that ended the summer season.  I had to tell him on the phone that I wouldn’t be playing on his team after all, because, “Gee… the doctor told me that I couldn’t run for six weeks, because I could jar my nose out of place again.”

And listen.  A girl doesn’t have to be told twice WHAT NOT TO DO when the alternative is having her nose misaligned after surgery has put it right smack back into place.  There was NO WAY I was going to be doing any running; I would have, in fact, SLOWLY WALKED AWAY FROM attacking zombies, for fear of ruining the position of my recently-corrected nose once again.

Eventually, that cute boy with the mullet worked up the courage that he had lacked in the middle of August of 1993.  He called me back.  He invited me to see a movie with him, and I went.  And then I decided that HOLY SNOT, BATMAN!  HE IS CUTE!  AND ALSO VERY SWEET!  And… I think I might love him.

So I married him.

And I’m still head over heels in love with him, twenty-one years after my PLAY OF THE DAY.

Today is August 13, 2014.

Today, the boy said good-bye to his very best friend.

August 13th seems to be a day of hardships for us.

The boy and Enzo have been close, CLOSE friends since they met the summer after kindergarten, and Enzo left today with his family.  His dad took a job, two entire states away from us here in Small Town, USA.  They loaded up a moving truck… they packed their vehicle to the gills… and my son had to say goodbye to his closest friend.

Yes.  There were tears; I may have cried more than anyone else did.  It’s hard to see your child hurting, and it’s going to be difficult to adjust to a life without Enzo here, just around the corner and up the hill from us.  That boy has grown up at our house… he has been inside of our house every single week, at some point, for the past seven years.  I feel like he was my third son, and I know that Enzo’s mama (Evelyn) feels the same way about the boy.  They have stayed the night with one another so often, Evelyn and I always joked that we should build them their own bedrooms at both houses!

I’ll never forget the time when the boy was a 4th grader, when he told me, “Mom, I really love you a lot.  I mean… A LOT!  But… if I didn’t have YOU for a mom… I would want Miss Evelyn to be my mom.”

Well, then!

Our family has known that this day was coming for several months.  Enzo’s dad took a job, two states over, quite some time ago.  He has been out there working for the past school year, while Evelyn stayed behind and let her boys finish that school year here, with their friends.  We have known for months and months that when the 7th grade ended… when summer break hit… Evelyn and Mark would sell their house here, in Small Town, and their family would all move.  They’re the kind of family who sticks together, just like we do, and this past year has been hard on Enzo and his little brother, having their dad so far away all the time.

I understand how important it is for them to go.

But that doesn’t make today… August 13th… any easier for us.

IMG_6450 IMG_7417 IMG_9291 IMG_8025 IMG_7994 IMG_1977 IMG_1678 IMG_2125 IMG_2183 IMG_8437 IMG_0096 IMG_1208 IMG_4694 IMG_4537 IMG_5095 IMG_5132 IMG_8420 IMG_9062 IMG_7174 IMG_7172 IMG_4209 IMG_0881 IMG_1473 IMG_5195 IMG_5437 IMG_6747 IMG_7395 IMG_7508 IMG_8087 IMG_9351 IMG_9360 IMG_9721 IMG_3975 IMG_2935Saying goodbye to a close friend when he moves is hard.

It’s DADGUM DANG hard.

But we believe that Jesus loves these two boys more than their mamas love them, which is A LOT.  We believe that Jesus has good things in store for both of these boys.  We believe that Enzo is going to thrive and make new friends in his new town; we believe that the boy will remain secure in his wolf pack of buddies right here, in Small Town.  We believe that Jesus will take care of both Enzo and the boy, and that He’ll bring a peace to their hearts over this matter, even though today was so hard on them.

Breaking my nose on August 13th, 1993 wasn’t what I WANTED, but it brought about some good, in the form of me meeting Hubs.  We believe that this August 13th will bring about some good, too.  No, it’s not what we wanted.  We didn’t want Enzo’s family to move away at all.  As of this afternoon, things have changed HUGE for us, because we have this hole in our house, that was always filled by Enzo.  Enzo has always been there for the boy to hang out with.  They haven’t gone more than a week without seeing one another in seven years.  They do movies together and overnights together.  They play on the same soccer teams and the same baseball teams.  They have just done flat-out everything together for seven years.

I snapped these pictures of them today…

IMG_7769 IMG_7775 IMG_7777These boys are still as cute as they were back in the first grade, and I love both of their stinking guts to pieces!!

But the bottom line to all of this is just that sometimes what we DON’T WANT works out to be the biggest blessing Jesus can give to us.  His arm is not too short to reach down from the heavens, touch the tops of both of these boys’ heads, and bless them profoundly.

Happy Wednesday, y’all.

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