Confessions of a Momma…..I Had to Choose Between My Boys

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And a mom should never have to do that.

My worst nightmare goes like this:

Our vehicle plunges off of a bridge and into icy cold, deep waters.  I have just mere seconds to save my children – six of them.  There is no way I can save them all.  Who do I choose?  Who do I save first and then, who do I come back for after I save the first few?

Ugggh!!!  Awful!  I get chills just thinking about it! But it is an awful nightmare I have, and I hope I never actually experience it.

I had a mini-version nightmare this weekend. And it was a very good, happy situation.  But I was still forced to choose between my boys.

My oldest, a senior, was playing in a real, live, stadium. His basketball team had made it a few games in to the play-offs.  He was out of the high school gyms, out of the college gyms, and now in to a stadium.  A very neat experience.  If they won, they moved on.  If they lost, they were out of the play-offs.

It’s a huge deal.  His team had never made it this far before.  He was a senior.  They had a very real chance of making it to state.  If they lost, it would be his last game. Forever.  Nothing in the world could keep me from missing this.

Except, maybe, his little brother.  Who also had a tournament.  In a tiny little town, in a tiny little school.  His brother is 11.  He’s in 5th grade.  This is his last game of the season, and it’s a tournament.  He will get a medal if he wins, ribbons if he gets 2nd or 3d.  He will play another game next year.  And he does not grasp how important this play-off game is to his big brother.

In the 11-yea-old’s world, this tournament game is IT right now.  He is so pumped, so excited.  He put last year’s 2nd place medal around his neck, to inspire himself and his teammates to give it their all!

I can only go to one game. They play at the same time, in two different towns.  Ugh!!  Why do they do this to parents?  I shouldn’t have to choose!

After a lot of careful thinking, I rationally chose to go to the 11-year-old’s.  I had to leave my heart out of the decision, because, if I’m totally honest with myself, I wanted desperately to be at my senior’s play-off game.  Desperately.  He wanted me there.  Needed me there.  It was a huge deal to him, and to our community.  Everybody was going.

And that’s what helped me with my decision.  Everyone was going.  He would have his dad, his 14 year old brother, his 3 year old brother, his aunt and his cousin there.  All of his friends and the whole student body would be there.

My 11-year-old would have no one at his tournament – no one – to watch and support him, if I didn’t go.  In my eyes, his tournament was not as important as the varsity play-off game.  In his eyes, it was the only thing in his world – at the moment.  He needed me. And so I went.

It killed me.  My family kept me updated on the varsity game.  I prayed and prayed that they would win – that I didn’t just miss my son’s last game ever.

My 11-year-old got third place!  He was so happy and excited!  He played well – he is going to be a good little basketball player when he gets older.

My sweet, understanding senior lost his game. They are done for the season.  And I missed it.  I was crushed.  (Not more than he was, I’m sure.  But still, it hurt.)

What could I do? What would you have done?  Please, let me know.  Leave me a comment and describe any similar situations you have had, and how you handled it.

(And any terrifying dreams you may have!)


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  • Susan February 29, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    I think you did the right thing and I am sure it was a horrible decision. When you explained why, it was clear. Eldest son is well grounded and mature. 11 year old are still feeling their way. My mother had that dream all her life and she kept throughing is up on the river bank one by one. Luckily it never came true.

    • Shannon March 1, 2016 at 7:30 am

      Oh my gosh! I’m not the only one that has that dream then. Except, in mine, I never actually get my kids out of the water. I get stuck all the time on who do I start with, and wake up. I think I made the right decision too, even though it was a tough one. I read an article yesterday from a mom who had to choose between her oldest daughter and her “new” family – her new husband and infant daughter. It was heartbreaking. I couldn’t stop thinking about her all day!

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