I Never Knew a Soccer Game Could Be That Good

There was a time when I told everyone we met that Pip had had a liver transplant.  I needed everyone to know what he had been through…what a miracle he is.  Lately, I’m in the don’t ask/don’t tell phase.  I don’t want him to be treated differently because of it.  I don’t want him to be babied and I don’t want him to be left out of stuff.  I want him to have as normal a life as he possibly can.

He started soccer today.  It was a fantastic day.  He loved it and can’t wait to go back.  His coach is wonderful – warm and enthusiastic and patient.  I wrote him a letter but I can’t decide whether or not to send it.  To understand how important today was for us, you’d have to understand what Pip came through.  But then I’d have to out him.  I don’t know if I want to do that.

So, right now, I’m just putting it out here into the universe.  Maybe you have an opinion as to what I should actually send.  Maybe just the last three sentences thanking him for being a great coach.

Anyway, I’m awfully grateful.  It was a good day.


Dear Coach Sam-

I just wanted to thank you for today – Pip’s very first day playing soccer.  You can’t tell by looking at him, but we once almost lost him.  He was diagnosed at 9 weeks of age with a rare, fatal, liver disease and he underwent an emergency liver transplant when he was 5 months old.  There were many days where we were afraid that we’d lose him and many other days when we felt that even if he survived, he would not be able to do the things that his classmates were doing.

Today was so perfect.  He was so excited to be on your team – wearing his uniform and getting in a huddle and yelling “Go Blue Bombers!”  He was so proud when you asked him to throw the ball in and when he kicked the ball and it actually went in the right direction.

When he took a break, he sat in my lap and I noticed the blue streaks running down his arm from his latest blood draw.  It was a big one and I knew it would leave a mark but I had forgotten about it – we were so soccer-focused today.  I looked at it for a moment and then you called him back onto the field and he leapt up and ran and you gave him a high five and I couldn’t see anymore because my eyes were filled with tears.

There were times in 2008 when I didn’t dare to hope he’d be playing soccer on September 8, 2013.  It was a dream.  Thanks for making it come true today.  You were a great coach.  You made him feel at ease even though he had never played, you made sure everyone got equal time with the ball, and you put the emphasis on fun.  It was a great day – one that we were so grateful to have – and I cannot thank you enough.


Pip’s Mama


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