Monday, October 6, 2008

And So I Became A Soccer Mom...

...Or maybe I should title this post: Confessions of a Soccer Mom Drop-out. Was signing a child up for soccer and giving up all of our Saturdays really my idea? Okay, maybe it was, but nobody disclosed to me ahead of time how early the games would be.

This last Saturday, thanks to pre-game soccer pictures, we had the pleasure of getting ourselves to the field by 6:30 am. There are very few things, in my opinion, that warrant getting up while it's still dark on a Saturday morning, and soccer pictures are not one of those things.

I wracked my brain, trying to find some way I could just blow this off and still teach my daughter the value of being part of a team and honoring commitments. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to justify it, so I pulled myself out of bed on the one Saturday morning my two-year-old had decided to sleep in and didn't care to be awakened early.

In a magnanimous gesture I later regretted, I offered to let my husband get some much needed rest while I got everybody up and ready. And I use the term "ready" very loosely. By the time we made it to the soccer field, two of my children were still partially in pajamas and all had hair sticking up in numerous directions as they ate nutritious breakfasts out of baggies.

And then I discovered that apparently all of the "good" soccer moms had gotten up at 5:30 to curl their daughters' hair into ringlets for pictures and make sure they had cute little pony-tail holders to match their uniforms. Very cute, but seriously - ringlets?

As my rumpled daughter lined up to smile for pictures, I still couldn't help but think how beautiful she is. She may never allow me to come near her with a curling iron, but she has a genuine smile that lights up her entire face, cute freckles and all. She is having a great time playing and to her it doesn't matter at all that everyone else on the team has expensive cleats and she is wearing plain old tennis shoes because her mom actually believed the coach when he said cleats were optional.

Not so many Saturdays ago, I watched my kids running around in the grass outside our house playing soccer with their daddy and laughing their heads off.

I'm not sure why I thought it would be nice to spend a small fortune in order to trade that for spending our Saturdays trying to navigate a small parking lot with 50 bajillion other minivans and SUVs all trying to get their kids to soccer games on time. (I don't know why, but every time we pull into that parking lot, there are paramedics already attending to someone with an injury. I strongly suspect it is someone who has been run over by another frantic soccer mom.)

Don't get me wrong - it's not all that bad. The confidence I see blooming in my daughter is beautiful. I love it when the parents and older brothers get ready to scrimmage with the girls at practice and my once-timid daughter yells, "Bring it on!" to all of them. And I love it that she's never too serious to wave to her little brothers cheering for her on the sidelines. But then my four-year-old reminds me, "Mommy, I get to play next year too, right?" and his little brother gives me a look that seems to say, "Don't forget about me!"

And yes, that would be my toddler running out into the middle of the game. Again.

It doesn't seem like all that long ago I was a mom of preschoolers and babies, and the days seemed to last forever. I must have read the same story books a thousand times each day as I wondered if there was more to life than play-doh. I remember looking forward to the day my kids would be older and we could do fun things like organized sports.

Now we gulp down dinner and race around looking for shin guards so we can make it to soccer practice on time. As we pile into the car, I can hear Grace in the backseat: "... and after soccer is over I'm going to play basketball, and then tennis, and then maybe T-ball, and then swimming..." and I find myself thinking how nice it would be to stay home and play play-doh and read stories with my kids.


debby94 said...

I always love to read your blog! You crack me up! I hope you all are doing well.


HappyNomads said...

Angie, we love you and we think you are a great mom - even with kids with disheveled hair, breakfast in baggies and mismatching hairbands! ;)

JLB said...

We are still in that "play- dough" stage of life. Sometimes I get tired of it so thank you for reminding me it won't last forever and to enjoy it before it's gone. Even though I've never met you (I'm a friend of Debby), I think you are a great mom and I love your blog!

JJ said...

You make me smile. I know that soccer is in my future - but my husband will probably be the one who seriously tells me that we MUST have cleats in order for her to get "spin" on the ball or some other such nonsense. As you know, I'm so NOT an organized sport type of person!

Anyway, it's great to know what's going on with you!