I had a women’s softball tournament that Sunday morning. I woke up early because our first game started at 8. It was my first all-women tournament in a long time. I was very excited, but disappointed I would miss church. I kissed my Pebs and Rocky good-bye, as they were laying in bed, Pebs in my spot. I dashed out the door in anticipation for the competitive day. I didn’t hear from Rocky until close to 1 that afternoon. He was on his way to come see me play with the kids. Ever since Amee was little, we would support Rocky at all of his softball tournaments. Pebble had the privilege to basically be born at the ballpark. Between Amoree’s softball games, our coed league, and Rocky’s men tournaments, we pretty much lived at the fields. However, I never had the family come see me play. I mean, not just me. I looked forward to them being there and rooting for me and our women’s team. I just wasn’t sure if Rocky was going to make it until I received that text from him saying they were on their way. I was elated! My babies were coming to see me play! Much to my surprise, they showed up in church clothes. I have been with Rocky for eleven years. Out of the eleven years, he has never attended church without me. I am the one who gets everyone up Sunday mornings, and many days, Rocky would stay behind and not go to church with us. The kids and I would go, wishing daddy was with us. There were still many Sundays that we attended church together as a family, all four of us, and those memories will never be forgotten. I might write about those days sometime in the near future. But on this Sunday, Rocky had taken the initiative, dressed the kids, and had gone to church together without mama! What drove my husband to attend church that day, to me, was God. You’ll understand by the end of this writing. My husband decided to take Old Blue, which was our uncle’s old blue truck that was stick shift. Pebble rode in the middle with the stick in front of him. Rocky, later, described that ride with such happiness, joy, and love. Pebble was so excited to sit next to “dada” and help him shift. He was full of smiles. Rocky said on their way to church, they had a flat, so he stopped to get it fixed. Of course, Pebble had to get down and help daddy. In the process of “helping,” his church clothes were covered in tire grime and dirt. Rocky said he looked so dirty, but was just so happy that day that he couldn’t even be upset at Pebs for getting filthy. When they arrived at Grace in the Woodlands, Amee went to her kids class, but Pebble wanted to stay with dada. Pebs always behaved like such a big boy around his daddy. He wasn’t like other toddlers. He knew he didn’t want to disappoint daddy or make him upset. He also knew he had mama wrapped around his little fingers and was able to get away with more. Rock said that Pastor’s Steve message that Sunday was about the storms in life, going through loss, and dealing with the aftermaths of tragedy. Harvey had hit Houston less than a month prior to that sermon, and he was preaching on hope, strength, and courage. Ironic that my son’s last church sermon was about loss. Rocky then said Pebs fell asleep on his shoulder, just like he always did on his daddy. At this point, I still had no idea that they had even attended church. We probably had already played our second game and were waiting to play our third. When my whole heart arrived at the ballpark, all three beautiful souls, I was ecstatic! I still get butterflies in my stomach when I see Rocky all dressed up. I saw my big girl in nice clothes with her hair all fixed up in a high ponytail. And then there was my Pebs, in his pastel orange and beige suit, now mixed with tire and dirt grime. I can still see him running up to me with his arms opened wide. I ran over and scooped his little body up, kissing him continuously as I held him. I hugged my Amee and kissed Rocky. I don’t think there was a happier woman on this earth at that moment. My teammates and I laughed at Pebs shirt as Rocky told us the story. I decided to take his shirt off and let him run around the ballpark shirtless. I loved his little belly. Him and Amee played up and down the bleachers, with the dogs that were there, and of course, with throwing some softballs. As we sat on the bleachers after our last game, I had asked Rocky what made him go to church. I was so surprised and elated that he took the kids to church without me. He couldn’t explain it. He just said he decided to go at the last minute.
Rocky and I become loyal tithers since 2012. We heard a very impactful message from Pastor Steve during that same year that changed our thinking regarding tithes and giving. I would tithe prior to this day but never consistently or correctly. Since 2012, we have given our tithes loyally and with giving hearts. I can write several blogs on the blessings we have been given since we became devoted tithers, but that will be on a separate day. Since we had a very slow summer and had taken a family vacation that year with our parents and all the kids, we weren’t struggling financially, but were not in the same financial boat we were used to. I also had decided not to return to teaching after thirteen years, so money was a little tight. That’s why when Rocky told me how much he had decided to give for tithes on this particular Sunday, I was surprised to say the least. It was the most amount of money we had ever given, ever. I asked him what compelled him to write a check for that amount of money for tithes. He said he didn’t know. He couldn’t explain it. Him getting up, taking the kids to church without me, giving so much in tithes, and coming to see me play, all seemed so unlike him, like it was someone else that day. Someone, or something else urging him to do these things on this particular Sunday. The last Sunday my Pebs was on this earth.
Our softball Sunday wasn’t over yet. We had our coed league games in Friendswood that evening, and Rock hadn’t brought any clothes to change into. So, he had to make a trip to Academy where he bought himself, Pebble, and Amee some workout clothes. He also bought Pebs some new tennis shoes that would be the ones he would wear in his little, white casket. When we arrived at the fields, Pebble was asleep, and so I left him sleeping in the car with Amee. He woke up towards the end of our first game. Amee and him came running towards us, playfully, excitedly, ready to exert some energy. They loved being at the ballpark. There were always kids to play with, and since Pebs was the youngest, all the little girls Amee’s age, would take turns playing with him and taking care of him. The ballpark will always be a place where my fondest memories of my Pebs were made. He loved playing. He loved the ballpark. I can’t remember if we won or lost our first game, but our second game we won because the opposing team didn’t show up. Instead of us going home, we decided to BP or hit batting practice. As one person of our team hits several balls, the rest of us are on the field practicing defense. Guess who was on the field with us on this day? My Pebs was running, throwing, and helping us catch the balls. He was standing very close to dada because he would protect him from getting hit when the balls went towards him. If I would’ve known it was our last time to have him on the field, I would’ve taken some pictures. I thought I was going to have many more to share with him. Amee was with us, too, with the rest of the girls her age. We all enjoyed playing together. I often dream about that day. I close my eyes and picture Amee chasing Pebble around the bases, him tripping, his mouth full of dirt, but just kept running until he reached home plate. I see Rocky’s big smile, calling Pebble his “Sunny Boy” and hearing Peb’s laugh as Rocky would occasionally pick him up so he wouldn’t get hit with the ball. If there was anything close to heaven as far as happiness goes, that Sunday had to be it. The amount of happiness, completeness, love, was all felt that day. I know Satan was angry on that day. He sure hated to see a family full of love, full of joy, full of God’s spirit rejoice and live so happily. He thought he was going to come and destroy us the next day when he was allowed to take my baby boy’s life. He thought we would be divided, that our family would break apart and curse the God that gave us that wonderful, happy Sunday before he came and brought such devastation, but he was wrong. He didn’t divide us. He didn’t break us apart. He didn’t succeed. My Pebs went to Heaven. He’s still playing ball, running, tripping, and laughing. We are still together, strong and united, faithful to our Heavenly Father. We were shattered, torn, broken, but God has never left us. He is with us, strengthening us and comforting us.
I believe God gave Rocky the motivation to go to church that day with the kids. He knew the importance of him spending that day with them at church was going to mean so much to us. He gave Rocky the will to write a check for tithes that was so grand for us so that we could know that there is faith in the unseen. We had no idea what was about to happen. We had no idea why we wrote a check for that amount of money, but we were faithful and obedient. God knew why. We just had to have faith. I believe God knew the importance of us playing ball together as a family, and allowed us to be together and play ball, what he loved to do. He gave us that last day with him one that we will never forget, not just us, but all those that shared those moments with us. It wasn’t a coincidence that all of these things occurred on this day. It was His hand. God’s Hand was in all of our actions, thoughts, and words that day. He was blessing us far beyond our understanding, even on this day. He knew what tragedy awaited us before we even had any idea, and he was giving us this last blessing with our son. He was allowing this beautiful moment to occur even without us even thinking of any tragedy. There isn’t a minute that goes by that I don’t thank Him. Some people may see it as just another day, a day that was just going to happen, but there is absolutely no way “it just happened.” There hasn’t been another day prior or since that Rocky gets up on his own to go to church without me. There hasn’t been another day prior or since that we write a check for that amount for tithes. There hasn’t been another day prior or since that we have BP as a team with the kids running and playing. I know God had a plan and continues to have a plan for us. I trust in Him alone. We may not understand it all, but Trust in Him who controls it all. He has your life in the palm of His Hands. He will do good in your life, in my life. I miss my Pebs deeply. I would give my beating heart to go back to this day, the Sunday before the tragedy, when we were all together, happy, and playing ball.
“I have come to believe in the ‘Sacrament of the Moment” which presupposes trust in the ultimate goodness of my creator.”