Monday, November 9, 2015

Sports of all sorts

The last two weeks have been - exhausting. 

My twelve year-old son was trying out for a coveted spot on the Junior High Basketball team.  

While we have told our son, over and over again, he is a sum of the whole not merely any one single accomplishment this truly was a HUGE deal.  There are easily 100+ boys going for 30 spots on the teams.  Tryouts lasted technically three nights, but five if you count the two open gyms.  Some of these boys worked with a trainer prior to the tryout and some have been focusing on just Basketball since third grade.

Perhaps I should have prepared my son a little more before the first open gym but I didn't want him going in so nervous that he was a hot mess.  In the few weeks leading up to the tryouts while we were still in soccer season I did mention causally a few times that he may need to go pick up a basketball. My husband was a little less subtle. Surprised?  

That first open gym I couldn't even drop him off because I wasn't home so I arranged a ride to the gym and I drove the two boys home. The other boy I took home was very talkative, which was unusual for him, and my son was almost mute.  After we dropped the boy off my son literally exploded with emotions.  I let him vent, I took the long way home, and I told that even though they called it an open gym it was very much a part of the tryout process.  He was miffed, but now motivated. At least he picked up a basketball.

The next night of tryouts as I drove him up to school I asked him to remember that this should be fun. Not knowing one single thing about basketball I couldn't give him any fundamental advice, so I was left with emotional stuff.  I told him to stay out of his head.  "I don't care who is on your team, who gets the ball or how much, who is watching you and who isn't. Just play ball. When you start to think to much - STOP! Play ball." I'm sure my husband would have been rolling his eyes, sighing, and possibly said shut-up.

I didn't play sports really, I was a dancer. I was forced to play softball once (I was 9-it lasted two weeks) and took tennis lessons once (they begged me not to come back).  I played volleyball and was a cheerleader in Junior High and that was enough for me. Needless to say, I am so proud of my sons it is hard to find the words.  I've often told them, they have inspired me to be a better person by showing me what handwork, commitment, and perseverance really means.

But like I said, I can not coach my kids in sports but I could teach them a soubresaunt or passe. 

Or better yet I guess, I can teach them how to stay out of their head.
Something about that sentence just sounds wrong.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It's officially Fall - Welcome Baby Lakis

Soccer is over for fall!! Halloween has come and gone. Basketball tryouts are here. (YUCK!) And it is Election day. Which means no school, friends over to play, and a perfect fall day here in the Midwest.  The temperature is just right, the sky is that amazing blue that reminds me of the first time that I glimpsed the Aegean Sea, and the leaves are all shades of yellow, orange, red, purple, and brown. 

This is my favorite season. I can not help but collect leaves every time I take the dog for a walk. Sometimes I actually get them into a book to press, mostly they collect around my house until they turn brown, mostly I forget and they turn to dust in the pocket of every jacket in the house.

The boys have been outside most of the day either playing on the neighbors trampoline, throwing the football, or creekin'. The dog is happy to just lay in the sun at my feet while I search the Internet randomly as thoughts pop in my head.

My husband's family has a new addition, born just two days ago, we received the pictures via Skype of the tiniest human being I have seen in quite a while.  It makes me swoon for just moments of those first days after the baby is born when your faith and hope in the universe is at it's highest.  After nine long months of cooking the timer buzzed and the wait is over.  You get to touch, feel, smell, hear, feed, and finally look at the miracle product.

With a nine and twelve year old it feels like those days are SO far away. When your children are that small the days feel likes weeks, sometimes months but the years still fly by. It's hard to explain to anyone what will happen to them after they have children. Each one of us will take a very unique journey that is for certain. But when I was very pregnant with our second child and waddling through the grocery store with a toddler in tow I remember a beautiful older woman stopping me.  She asked how far along I was and squatted down to talk with my son.  Then she looked me dead in the eye and said "The days are long, the years are short, and soon this will all be over. My one wish now is that someone had told me - don't wait for grandchildren. Enjoy your children."

In those first days at home with a newborn, a toddler, and a sick husband those words ran through my head one day. I laughed out loud thinking "HOW?" I was exhausted. I was alone. I was totally overwhelmed. and then it dawned on me. All those years I spent with my Grandmother (we were best friends) when she was overwhelmed - we went shopping. We ate ice cream for lunch. We drove an hour to buy Muss Melons or 30 minutes to find a McDonald's. Or we just drove around looking for "something, I will know it when I see it."

I remember that day. I put my one week old in the baby carrier, the toddler in the car seat, and left my husband in bed.  We went to a McDonald's with a Playland. We ate fries and ice cream for lunch and no one was worse for wear.  So that's my best advice to new parents. old parents, and especially overwhelmed parents. Channel your grandparents - and spoil the kids for a little while. No one will be worse for wear.