I just received an email from One's football coach about this week's practices and Saturday's game, and in it he talks about the handing out of stickers tonight. Be on time to practice, we're handing out helmet stickers: stickers are important.
And they are, aren't they? I thought we were done with stickers, but apparently we're not. All of us handed them out - Dora or Thomas, depending on gender - when we potty trained our children. Then from pre-school on, teachers put stickers on our children's work. Smiley faces, "Good Job!", "Way to Go!" - all the little marks of encouragement that have meaning to our kids.
Finally just when you think they've outgrown the need for such things, someone comes along a puts a sticker on your son's football helmet for a win. Or for a touchdown, or a tackle, or for whatever he's done that we're proud of. You know he wants that sticker more than anything, even if he tells you otherwise. He wants tangible evidence of this good thing he's done, something to show the world, something that can never be taken off, never taken away from him. He did it, he was a part of it. He owns this good thing.
And so we clumsy adults resort again to stickers. Because they say tangibly those words I hope we utter but sometimes we forget: "I'm proud of you son. You did a good job out there today."
One, you did a good job out there on Saturday, and we're proud of you. I'm proud of you every day, actually. I don't think they make a sticker for that, but it's true just the same. Every day you put on your game face and go out and get it done - at school, at football, at life. No mom could be prouder than me if she tried. Good job, young man. Good job.
*One is #44 is the second picture.