It was a Sunday morning like any other. The kids were loud and I had to do my makeup in the car because we were running late for church. As Coach helped our two oldest kids to their classrooms, I whisked our then 8 month old off to the nursery. It was there, in the nursery, in the midst of the smiles and babies cooing in the arms of the volunteers, that I was challenged and changed.
As I got my daughter all signed in, I looked up to see my sweet friend standing there with a little blue gift bag. She just heard the news that we were expecting another baby boy and surprised me with a present for him. Neither of us even said a word, I just slowly peeked inside and found a pair of tiny white cotton pajamas with little puppies on them. And we both cried.
Now, I'm not saying the pajamas weren't absolutely precious, but the pj's themselves weren't the reason behind these tears. These were tears overflowing from a deep dark well dug five years ago.
Years earlier, my friend and I were both expecting precious baby boys, just one month apart. But tragedy struck, and only one of us got to bring our baby home. One of us stayed up all night with a crying baby, while the other stayed up all night crying for her baby. One of us would continue to feel our baby's life moving inside our womb for five weeks while the other felt nothing but emptiness inside. How cruel that any mom has to bury her baby, much more a mom as wonderful and capable as she.
I knew before she even told me that these pajamas weren't just any pajamas. Sure, they were adorned with new tags but I knew those tags sat idle on the little hanger for five years. I knew these pajamas were never meant for my son to wear. Rather, they were meant to clothe and comfort her beautiful boy that never got to come home.
It wasn't lost on me how difficult it was for her to give these to me. And I know it wasn't lost on her how difficult it was for me to receive them. We stood and we hugged and cried and finally somehow one of us came up with something to say. That moment was easily one of my most humbling, sacred moments of my life. My friend's courage taught me so much that day, and it's challenged me as a coach's wife in a new way this season.
1) She acted brave. I'm sure she didn't feel brave. But she took steps towards me that required courage, and her very standing there was everything to me. As a coach's wife, sometimes we find ourselves in awkward or difficult situations, but I'm confident if we, like my friend, can just act brave, we can take the next step and make it through!
2) She showed up. Isn't it amazing what just having someone stand beside you can do? God has graciously done so much in our friendship these last several years, and He deserves all of the credit, but none of it would have ever happened if she and I never showed up to begin with. I showed up for her when her son was still in the NICU fighting for his life just to hug her and give her a meal. She showed up for me the first time I brought my newborn son to church and just hugged me. Showing up for our husbands, whether it's at the games or sitting on the porch with him in silence after a tough loss...beautiful things can happen when you just sit with someone.
3) She brought what she had. That Sunday morning, she brought me a pair of cotton jammies. Five years earlier when she first approached me after I had my son, she had nothing but herself and an attempt to smile. And you know what? Both were MORE than enough. Both times she just walked towards me and offered herself or something small that she had, those moments changed me and made our friendship stronger. This season, don't refuse to come to team dinner because you didn't have time to make a fabulous dessert, don't skip out on a game just because you forgot a change of clothes after work. Just show up as you are with what you have. Your very presence can motivate and inspire your Coach more than you know.
Whatever your season in life, no matter your current lifestyle and obligations, your Coach needs you. Sure, you need time for yourself as well, and I strongly encourage that. But take it from me, the act of choosing bravery, showing up, and bringing what you have can change a life. Don't give in to the lies that you're not enough or that you just don't fit in. Own your honor of being a C.W. and be yourself! Your Coach is lucky to have you.