Maybe it wasn’t a big a deal wherever you are reading these words, but there was a documentary last night on ESPN called The Book of Manning that everyone in my facebook newsfeed was talking about. Everyone in Mississippi loves Archie, whether or not you choose to love Ole Miss makes no difference. As an Ole Miss alum who is the daughter of an Ole Miss alum who is married to an Ole Miss alum, I was tuning in to watch just like everyone else, though I honestly wasn’t terribly interested. I knew a little bit about the Mannings—the basics—Archie, the superstar quarterback in college, his progeny—professional football legends. We all know the basics, right?
But a funny thing happened. Mama, this will interest you I’m sure. Ben and I have been talking about it all day. We can’t stop thinking about that dang movie. It was no sports documentary. It was the story of a family more than that. I cried a little bit. So.
Watching it made me want something that I’ve never really been able to feel with my heart. My head has always wanted to have good, productive, talented, kind children one day. Some day. But my heart hasn’t ever been in that, really. Mostly I can’t get past the horrifying things I’ve heard about childbirth and the weariness that comes with taking care of a baby. I’m shortsighted in that way. It’s very hard for me to feel anything about having children beyond that fearful time at the beginning.
But let me get back to where I was going—a funny thing happened. Hearing the story of this family, where the fearful parts are skipped (childbirth! babies!) and only the greatest things about having children were told, I felt my heart hurt a little bit for something I don’t yet have and have never really considered wholly. Seeing home videos of the Manning brothers at 3 and 5 years old, throwing the football with their daddy in the front yard, hurting each other’s feelings, then hugging each other, hearing their parents and seeing their joy talking about their sons, seeing those boys grow up and love each other the way I’ve always heard Ben talk about his relationship with his own brothers. And nothing in the world can get Ben choked up faster than televised emotional moments between brothers, sons and fathers. This movie tore. Him. Up.
Can you pick which one is Ben?
And for me, that’s really encouraging. I’m not ready yet, still. But it feels good to imagine, not babies and all their impermanence, but these people who do not yet exist, people I will be so proud of. People I will fall in love with and who will do things I could only dream of.