I left home early yesterday morning and headed for the club for Presentation Day and the ‘Bag Your Boots for Ben’ collection. As usual, I looked at Ben’s picture and told him I loved him as I walked out the door and he smiled back at me knowing I was a little nervous, with that “You’ve got this mum” look on his face.
As I set up the boxes for boots that I hoped would arrive during the morning and mopped up the puddles of rain on my tarpe floor I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen after the day was finished, what next? My mind immediately went into damage control and a million ideas popped into my head. On some level I knew my question was bigger than just the next 12 months. I stood there for a moment with my coffee in hand and watched the other couple of people also busy setting up for the day. My gaze turned out across the oval remembering Ben training and playing there. The hours he spent practicing his kicking and how adamant he was to continue to get better, to get stronger, and to constantly learn, improve and better himself. Everything seemed so peaceful and quiet in that moment.
I remembered a speaker I had heard years ago. She talked about how it was ‘all about the dash’. Born 2002 – 2017. “For it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house the cash. What matters is how we lived and loved and how we spent our dash”.
It occurred to me that it is those that love the most that know how important that little line really is. We never know how much time we have left but we are presented with opportunities every day, even every hour, to rearrange how that dash will look. In other words, it is up to us what we do with our dash!
So, what was I really doing? Someone had asked me ‘how’ I was doing and I had replied I actually have no idea ‘what’ I am doing. As time went by, all I knew was the only thing that seemed to matter any more was continuing a legacy and keeping my son’s name alive. So here I was, standing in the rain, collecting boots in Ben’s honour to send to those less fortunate in Africa. At the time it had seemed so logical. Ben had had a conversation with a good friend who still refers to him as her brother. They talked into the early hours of one morning and he told her how he would love to go to Africa and teach sport as “that would be so cool”. He felt that the kid’s there didn’t deserve what they got and that they should all have the opportunity to get a basic education and to be able to play sport.
As I stood there surrounded by my then empty boxes, starring out, I knew with all my heart, that I was doing the right thing. Tears filled my eyes and I smiled. I knew Ben was with me and was nodding saying “this is very cool!”. He hadn’t had the opportunity to get to Africa but in some way now he would. I realised in that second that Bag Your Boots for Ben was so much more than just a collection of sport shoes. I was helping Ben achieve something he had wanted to do and my heart soared. He WOULD make a difference to so many peoples lives, he WOULD create a change!
During the day I spoke with many people. Small children came up to me with what looked like miniature sized boots in outstretched hands and looked up at me willingly. “Are these for me? Thank you so much” I would say with a smile and a hug from Ben. One woman messaged me saying her son had every pair of boots he had ever played in and wanted to donate them ALL to Ben and the Boots for Africa cause. So many kids wanted to give back and this was their opportunity to do just that.
Adults and kids were smiling and feeling good. Knowing Ben was giving them this opportunity and I was able to facilitate it, helping fulfil his dream in some way, made me feel good.
Perhaps the saying is true “peace comes with gratitude for what is, replacing the yearning for what is not”.
Lots of love
Dalya xx 💙