My girls each play one fall sport and my son plays two. Since he has a lighter ice hockey schedule this year, he joined Varsity soccer as a second sport. The above title does not include Saturday morning recreational soccer games for my oldest two. And, lest you judge us as “that family”…you know, “the ones who have their kids in too much”…read on.
When my youngest was in the 5th grade, I met a fellow Mom in the school hallway who was completely frazzled. Like me, she had 3 children, but 2 of hers were well into the high school years. She told me she had driven back and forth to the school 17 times in two days. I thought she was exaggerating. Breathlessly, she listed her kids’ varying sports schedules, after school clubs, homecoming meetings, etc. etc. etc. When she finished, I laughed and said, “Wow, you need a break with a cup of tea!” She looked at me like I was crazy to think she’d have the time. Me? I sat around the kitchen island with my kids that afternoon, enjoying after-school cookies and milk, while leisurely hearing all the details of their day.
Knowing me back then (before my kids were teenagers and I smugly believed that my family was the most harmonious of all), I probably judged her for not having enough family dinners and for putting her kids into too many activities.
Fast forward 4 years.
As of Wednesday, all 3 of my children are in high school. Even though school just began for us, sports started in August and I have a well-worn path between my house and the school campus!
There was a time when I foolishly believed that kids belong at home the majority of the time and anything other than one outside interest was too much. Honestly, I fought for that life until I watched my twins become teenagers, and they grew into a new breed of humans right before my eyes. Yes, they needed more than home.
The school, travel, and recreational sports provide my teens with a sense of belonging. The physical exertion is excellent for their bodies and minds. The research I did to disprove their need for more than Mom 😉 showed that teen sports involvement elevated overall confidence, and monumentally reduced the amount of drug and alcohol use, and sexual promiscuity among teens.
Do sports cure all ills? Of course not. But music, athletics, and any other outside interest a child willingly pursues grows them personally and sometimes, professionally.
In summary, my daughter signed me up to host the first Varsity soccer team pasta dinner the night before school started. Just when I was feeling rather proud of myself for organizing our 60-day insane schedule and a dinner for 18 girls, one of the Dad’s picking up his daughter mentioned how busy they were. I nodded, thinking about our 97 practices. He added, “I don’t know if my daughter told you, but she’s the oldest of six kids. We’re working hard to stay on schedule.”
Hmmmm. Six kids? Well, now I just feel less amazing! God bless us all as we drive to countless fields and rinks, supporting our children. Someday when they are all in college, these will be our autumn memories!
Just for fun, I set my odometer to 0 on the first day of school. I drove 50 miles, back and forth to school, the golf course, grocery shopping, etc!!!!! I just had to laugh. I was still able to make a family dinner, maybe we all couldn’t sit at the same time, but I was able to sit with my children when they ate and hear about their exiting day. I put that a plus in the win column.
Great job making dinner and committing to hear about each of their days! We have to adjust as they grow older, don’t we? If you drove 50 miles on day 1, imagine the tally by next June! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!