Sports Lessons

Sports have never been my thing.  As a kid, I was never interested in playing.  To play a sport would require me to set aside my book, pencils, and notebooks in order to participate.  Not to mention the whole getting off my hind end and actually moving aspect of it all.

As a certified lazy person, I am highly allergic to intense movement of any sort.

Even watching sports has never been a favorite thing of mine.  Well, except for the Olympics.  But those don’t count as sport.  Those are more art.  At least they are to this observer.

Anyway, my athletic aversion ended when God chose to bless me with son’s.  My third son in particular has put an end to this.  Oh, even he has not succeeded in getting me to actually participate in a sport.

But his enthusiasm for pretty much any activity that involves chasing a ball has caused me to spend many Saturday mornings watching different athletic contests.

Even worse, it’s caused me to begin learning rules for different games.

That is not all I have learned this year from watching my boy play ball this year. I’ve also learned that I do not enjoy watching sports with my husband.

I suppose this is not a new revelation. I have watched college and professional sports with him since our dating days. The man takes his sports seriously. (Except the Olympics, which he also does not view as sport; to him, they are an every-four-year annoyance.) I thought, though, that it would be different watching our children play. I have no athletic ability and while my husband has been known to at least attempt to play, he is not exactly Michael Jordan either. To me, it seems only logical to expect our boys to follow in footsteps. We should be sitting on the sidelines, cheering them on for attempting to play (which is far more than their mother has ever done) and for giving their best effort.

What I did not expect was that one of the boys would actually show some athletic talent.

That middle son of mine…. Wow! He not only enjoys sports, he is good at them! My heart swells with pride when he is on the football field and another parent says, “Did you see what number 5 just did? That kid’s got moves!” And it brings tears of joy to my eyes when I am on the sidelines of a soccer game and I hear, “Way to go, Robin!” I may not always understand what he did, but someone else does. And it feels good that he is being recognized for it.

But then to hear his dad during a game grumble about what he is doing wrong…. That about breaks my heart.

I am not one who thinks that kids should get a trophy for showing up at a game. If the child wants an award, he or she needs to work hard and earn it. And if the child does something wrong during a game, by all means he or she should be told after the game , “Hey, if that situation comes up again, you should….” But I don’t see how comments such as “What are you doing?” Or “Can’t you move faster?” Or “What in the world are you thinking out there?” Should be shouted at the child during the game.

Or maybe it’s just because this is MY child and I am still amazed that something that carries my blood is coordinated enough to participate in an organized sport. But anytime my husband and I sit together at a game, I leave feeling bad for my boy.

He is out there, trying his best, putting his whole heart into the game. Can’t the correction wait until we are home?

Stay At Home Mom?

What does at stay-at-home-mom do when all of her children are in school?

I’ve been asking myself that question a lot recently. This school year is coming to a close, and with the new balanced schedule that my sons’ school has adopted, I am looking at six weeks of having all three of my boys home all day long. But after those six weeks are up…. Then what? Starting in August, I will have a sixth grader, a fourth grader, and a kindergartener. When I was in school, kindergarten was half day. Now, they go all day, every day. So from 7:21 am until 2:22 pm (little longer than that when you figure in the time it takes for the bus to get the boys to and from school), I will be at home alone.

And I don’t know what I will do with my time.

Of course, the easy answer is “write more!” If I can get five, nearly six novels written while I have the kids home with me much of the time, can you imagine how much I can accomplish with all three of them at school all day?

And then there is my husband’s answer, one he hasn’t actually voiced but I have read in his eyes: “Keep the house clean.” Ugh. Seriously? Between you and me, if my choice is to be continually cleaning the house or working at an outside job, I am going job hunting. And with my health issues, the idea of getting a job outside of the home scares me! My mother-in-law, bless her heart, set such a bad example for me here. She was a single stay-at-home-mom throughout my husband’s high school years, and she kept an immaculate house. My most vivid memories of her involve cleaning up even while company was over. “Neat freak” doesn’t seem strong enough to describe her. But I am not like that. Sure, I enjoy having a clean home, but I don’t find great joy in constantly cleaning a house that my four guys will just mess up again quickly. And that I will just mess up again! I am not organized enough to keep the house spotless, and I know it. Not looking forward to doing something that will only set me up for failure.

There are enough areas of my life where I feel like I am failing—I don’t need my housekeeping skills (or lack thereof) to add to that feeling.

So if I don’t want to spend all my time writing (since I know that I will likely turn to computer games when a character gets on my nerves!) or cleaning, just what do I want to do with my time? I’ve been thinking a lot about it recently, and I have come up with three things that I want to do, three organizations that I want to be a part of.

One is the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN.) This is the nation’s leading cancer advocacy group. Through this group, I’ll have the chance to tell the story of how cancer has affected my life to members of government who are responsible for delegating state and federal funds to cancer research. When I first decided to get involved, it had more to do with my mother and her successful battle against the disease (30 years and going strong!) than anything else. Since then, though, I’ve seen how the disease can affect my life in other ways. Namely, my cousin lost her battle with breast cancer. Though she was 15 years older than I am and we were not particularly close, she was the first member of my generation of the family to pass away. Her death hit me harder than even I realized at first. I want to do whatever I can to help one person facing cancer celebrate one more birthday.

I’ve also decided that I want to be more involved in Jackson Storyfest. This is an annual event held in my hometown, celebrating the craft and tradition of oral storytelling. This May, Storyfest celebrated its 25th anniversary. I’ve live in Jackson for all of those 25 years, plus a few more, and though I’d heard of the event, I had never attended. My two oldest sons have, though. They have gone with their schools and each time, have really enjoyed it. It wasn’t until I spoke with one of the storytellers for a freelance gig I’d been assigned that I ever seriously considered going to Storyfest. Once I went to one session, though, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to be a part of putting on this event year after year.

The third thing that I have decided to take up is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, ever since my now 8-year-old son started preschool. I want to head up a Moms In Prayer International group for the school my sons attend. The only thing that has kept me from doing it is that I had another child at home. Not that I haven’t prayed for my children—I do that daily. I just was not able to commit to a group. Now, though, it’s at the top of my mind. Especially as I see some of the things the boys are being faced with and the friends they are choosing. I worry about my kids. There’s nothing wrong with that—I mean, doesn’t every good mom worry about her kids on some level? But I am making the choice to turn that worry over to God. I would love to be able to meet with other moms of Hunt students, so that we can pray together.

So here is my question for you—what did you do with your time when all of your children were in school? What advice would you give to a mom like me, preparing for her first days with no children home all day long?

american cancer society, Jackson storyfest, , Moms In Prayer, school, stay at home mom Leave a comment