Cooper has played on the Dolphins since fall 2005. He was 4. Katie was just a few months old. I was a mostly stay-at-home mom with a few freelance projects. Steve was healthy, working more than full time.
The core of that team has been together ever since.
I love those little preschoolers who have grown into tall young men. Coach Phil likes to say, "They're not a team of soccer superstars, but they are a team of future CEOs."
And I love the Dolphins parents. Some of the moms I met way back in 2005 are among my dear, treasured friends. We have all cried together, but we've laughed together more.
We were all reunited at 5:30 this afternoon, for the first practice of what will be the final season for the Dolphins.
My heart leaped to spy Austin, who still wears to practice the fall 2009 jersey, the one with Steve's initials on the chest. (When some of the Cooper's teammates walked down to the altar for the children's portion of Steve's memorial service, they were wearing these jerseys.)
|Austin after practice, wearing Steve's initials|
There are some new families, too. Some from Bledsoe, with boys Cooper has known for years.
And then there's Connor.
Connor's dad, Greg, worked with Steve at Arthur Andersen in the late '90s. They served on the same long-term engagement with Los Angeles County hospitals.
Greg and his family now live in Frisco. And Greg's son was placed on the Dolphins.
I was able to visit tonight with mom Lauren, who has had her own share of heart-breaking loss and health struggles. I had never met her until tonight, though long ago I read her daughter's CaringBridge journal entries. Lauren and Greg and their family were on our prayer list for many, many months.
And now, 15 years after Steve and Greg worked together, their sons are playing together.
There are incredible gifts along this circuitous journey. Unexpected moments and little blessings. I am thankful for them all.