Thursday, October 28, 2010

On the Sidelines

My wife wrote this a few weeks ago, and I thought I would share it with you all.


On the Sidelines

I stand on the sidelines of the soccer field-

fold-up chairs, water bottles, empty wrappers of snacks

and the energy of the game.


I have dreamed of these moments-

to stand in the league of typical parenthood

where boys just play soccer,

because that is what you do in the Fall.

Saturdays are spent at the field

watching and gossiping

while our boys run back and forth-

an amoeba of bodies chasing a ball.


There are so many untold stories

masked on the sidelines-

the dad who forgot the red jersey

because he doesn’t communicate with his ex-wife.

She sits across the field in the shade-

the unspoken energy ripples around us.


The mother, who after mindless chatter,

neglects to mention

she just recovered from lung cancer.


And then there is me,

the mom who holds her breath

every time her son touches the ball.

The mom who still is told to check the box of autism on medical forms

to ensure attention for her son.

She secretly praises his progress

but stays wary just in case.


Who is this boy

who joyfully bounds through the green grass

looking like all the other “normal” boys?

Something has shifted.


And who is this mom

who tucks away her story?

The years of therapy, medication and doctors-

stuffing it in her pocket

as she sits back, silent, in her folded chair

pretending this is where she should be.


By Jennie Chapman Linthorst


  1. What a beautiful piece. One foot in each world. I know it well.

  2. you and me, sister
    riding this train together
    for so many years
    you could argue
    that it's better this way
    because we appreciate.....
    but sometimes the smaller part of me
    that narrow sliver of myself
    envies ignorance
    but then i realize
    that this is my train ride
    and i wouldn't have it any other way