Like a lot of parents, I spend quite a bit of time driving to, sitting during and driving home from ball practice. I could try to figure out how many hours are spent in this way, but that would be depressing, like when my twin daughters were newborns and I calculated how many diapers I bought their first year. And, anyway, I’m not much into numbers. I’m more of a words person. Sentences are how I quantify and qualify my daily activities. Words are how I decide if the outcome is worth the expense of my time.
I believe in practicing something over and over to get better at it. I believe that mastering a skill doesn’t happen overnight. I believe that learning how to work as a team takes time. I believe that hard work builds character. I believe that a coach or teacher or leader deserves respect and that is strengthened through face-to-face interactions. So, in other words, I believe that practice is a good thing.
But there are those times…when it’s rainy and dark and I’m hungry and really behind on laundry, and I see the email that practice is cancelled. Ahhhh! Those three beautiful words: Practice is cancelled. I rejoice because I’d rather be home from the hours of 5:00-9:00 pm. I would love to be in my pajamas in front of the television, instead of sitting in my van and checking the clock to see how long I have until I can drive home.
And practice is just a part of being a sports mom. There are also games and the preparation involved in going to these games. You have to be sure all of the equipment and uniforms are accounted for, but sometimes the planning fails me. For instance, last year my son had a game 45 minutes away from home. It was 81 degrees at my house, but at the fields we found 22-mph winds and the temperature dropped 20 degrees. Wearing shorts was not the best choice after all. I made myself into a ball—pulling my knees inside my shirt and wrapping my arms around my legs. I may have also turtled my chin and nose inside the collar of my shirt. Yay soccer!
I don’t tell my kids the unpleasant truth concerning how I feel about driving them around, because this would make them feel like a burden. Though kids are a burden in the very literal sense—something to carry, a responsibility, an obligation—my four are loads I gladly shoulder. Precious inconveniences. Treasured encumbrances. Cherished disruptions.
Running them to practices and sleep-overs and school and doctor’s appointments can get hectic, but what better way to show them how much I care. Do they always appreciate it? No, of course not! Did you appreciate your parents for all they did for you? I doubt it!
But I’m grateful for the opportunities to serve them, and let’s face it, you don’t get into the Motherhood Business for the awards and the shout-outs. Even that one special day devoted to us, Mother’s Day, can be a letdown. Serving without any expectations for praise and gratitude seems almost superhuman, but it’s the definition of humility. I’m not always great at it, but I’m trying and being a mom gives me lots of opportunities to hone my humility skills. And you know what they say: “Practice makes perfect!”