Y’all, I’ve seen a sign that the end is near. No, I’m not talking wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. I actually saw parenthood from my Mother’s point of view – which is a bonafide miracle. I saw her point of view last night as I sat on a hot as Satan’s balls metal bleacher in calf-high grass watching my son play middle school football. My Mother refused to let me participate in any extracurricular activities. She had every excuse in the world from “We can’t afford it.” to “The Girl Scout leader is a whore who sleeps with all the Dads.” Yes, that last quote is true. She actually told me that when I begged to be a Brownie. I desperately wanted to wear that cute little uniform complete with knee-high socks and beanie and sell (i.e. eat) those delicious cookies. As I got older, I realized all of her reasons were just excuses. If I had really wanted to do it, we could have swung the instrument rental or registration fee. The fact of the matter was my Mother was selfish and lazy. She didn’t want to cart me 20 minutes across town to a game, practice or meeting. She didn’t want to sacrifice money for her cute clothes so I could have some god awful hot pink tutu that I wore once on a stage and immediately went into the toy box.
When I was old enough to understand, I vowed if I had kids that had the talent or ambition to play sports or an instrument or whatever, I would move heaven and earth to let them have the opportunity. And, the opportunities they have had. Between my son and my daughter, they have done soccer, t-ball, swimming, football, basketball, art, theater, golf, dance, gymnastics, horseback riding, band, choir, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and I’m probably forgetting a few more things. Some of these endeavors have lasted for years while others only lasted a season. I have spent more hours shuttling children from one place to another and sitting on the sidelines or in waiting areas for various lessons to wrap up than I even want to think about. We have spent enough for a few nice vacations on instrument rental, extra training camps, and hot pink tutus. We have heard the dreaded, “I don’t want to do _____ anymore. Can I quit at the end of this season?” So yeah, last night as sweat rolled down the back of my legs and the white trash lady behind me rang a cowbell the size of her face everytime our team made a touchdown, I completely understood my Mother’s point of view.
Look, I know I have it easy. I only have two kids and neither of them is at the top of their chosen activity. I have a cousin with four daughters who all play multiple sports. I have friends that do elite or select kid sports. You know, the teams where the kids are recruited like professional athletes and travel all over the state or region for games. These families are never at home. They can’t remember what home looks like. They barely have time for school and jobs before they are on to the next game. I actually texted one of those friends last night and told her she’s a saint for being an elite sports mom because I don’t know that I could do it. Maybe if my kids had really remarkable talent, I would sacrifice and make it happen for them but I don’t know. That’s one of those instances where I’d have to be in that position to accurately make that call.
Tonight, when I sit on a well worn couch trying to read a book while waiting for my daughter to get out of ballet class, I will remind myself I am doing what I always said I would for my kids. I’ll be thankful for an hour that I get to sit on my butt and practically do nothing. And, I’ll mentally pat myself on the back for not being a selfish twit by allowing my kids the opportunities I never had. But, I swear if that lady sits behind me at another football game and rings that damn cowbell in my ear one more time I may have to snatch it from her and knock her across the face with it.