“I just want him to stay-if he stays he can fix it.  If he stays more boys will be helped.  If he stays more momma’s will be happy to send their sons his way. If he stays, I know we will win!  I just want him to stay.”

The “him” in these sentences  is Mack Brown.   And these are the sentences I have shouted for most of this football season.

Coach Brown resigned yesterday and I cried.  And I pressed in to figure out the reason-I get it, it’s football, Mack Brown and I have never met-and most likely never will.  He will be fine-he already has another position with the university.  He has a great family, he has great friends. It does him no good for me to fret-

and yet…

It turns the page on another first.  It has been so long since the last first, so long I forgot how they feel.  Texas will have a new head coach-whom I will grow to adore-but he will be the first head coach I will know and my Dad will not.  The firsts all felt just like this-the first birthday, the first anniversary, the first president, the first Christmas, the first -the first- the first….they just kept coming.

And they kept hurting-

But as my faith grew and I learned to trust His faithfulness-things got better.

I never thought I would ever not miss my dad.  It’s just this weekend, I was reminded that there are still going to be firsts.

Our littles will graduate-

Our babies will go to college-

Our sons will wait at alters

Our girl will walk an aisle

Some people have laughed at me for being so loyal to Coach Brown. Some have made fun of how I hang on too long.  But I have reasons to hang on and I am most proud when I am told I am too loyal.  It has taken a great deal of work for me to learn to stick and stay-to unlearn run.  Some of my most precious memories are because I stayed and didn’t leave a hospital bedside.  I have learned that it is better to stay-it is better to fight-it matters to cherish and I love that I  learned to be loyal and hang on because of my dad.

Dad and I didn’t have a ton of great memories. This life was hard on him.  This world would say that I had every reason to walk out on him-to leave him alone-to turn my back. But my heart new better.  My heels dug in.  And I fought for each moment.  My stories aren’t stories that are easy to hear but the best of my stories with dad are about football and Texas.   His time at Texas were the very best of his short years.  We would sit at the kitchen table and watch football on Saturday.  His mind filled with happy memories of his best times in life.  We would cheer on our Horns -we would cheer on new coaches.  He would talk about old teammates and position coaches. And I would listen to him tell the same stories over and over.  We would watch  our team win, we would watch our team lose.  We would yell at bad calls, Dad’s eyes would close for a quick nap-

Yes, Dad has missed so much and there will be more firsts for sure-but I am thankful that I have learned the power of stay.

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