I am currently booking up two weeks out. There is a part of me who thinks that is almost comical, part of me who thinks that is almost shameful and a part of me who thinks something hass gone very wrong because I now have three parts to me. This was brought to my attention tonight when Big Sister’s friend’s mother asked if she could participate in a sleep over. I had to look at a calendar and search for a time that that would be possible. It was weeks away. Now this month is a particularly special month; we’re celebrating our anniversary, the kids start soccer and we have a dinner to attend. But it’s also a pretty normal month.
I’m not sure if this is us finally getting to the meat of parenting older children and this is what our future might look like every weekend. We got away with doing limited afterschool activities up until this point. There was a somewhat ill-fated shot at dance team two years ago… But that experience had me sitting in car line for over an hour before school ended with a tired toddler. Then I had to intercept a first grader, rushing them both to change into leotards and tights in car seats and making a mad dash across the parking lot three deep only to arrive 10 minutes late to a 20 minute tutus and taps class. Big Sister would usually sit quietly or sometimes talk with a friend while she waited for her turn, but when she went into class and Little Sister came out that’s when things got hairy. That time was spent mostly negotiating snacks or screen time to keep her occupied while I sat with another mom who is adorable but had the same problem. We bonded over the mutual embarrassment we suffered upon seeing each other and saying hi initially but thinking the other person didn’t recognize us (we are in the same book club but had only met once or twice). We commiserated over the fact that this is how we are spending hours of our day. Our friendship was by far the best thing to come from dance class.
I’ve noticed in parenting that the thing I do the most is compare what I’m doing with my children to what happened when I was a child. And I think that my memory has gotten a bit fuzzy. Much like the way I believe I always listened to my mother and never talked back, I also somehow believed afterschool activities were generally seamless even though I know they really weren’t. We too made mad dashes across town getting to swim practice or hurrying to get a taco or something quick to eat before an activity. I remember the rush to get out of practice and get to daycare before they started charging my mom a dollar a minute for being late to pick up my little brother and sister. It could not have been easy for her and I remember (when I take the time to really think about it) many tears and lots of frustration and I have to wonder if that’s par for the course.
My husband played sports pretty much his entire childhood on one team or another all year round. There was no question as to what the family would be doing on a Saturday; it was known that the entire day would be spent at the ball park with two kids playing, dad coaching and mom being a team mom and making sure everyone was fed and watered appropriately. I think I got a little spoiled with our own kids because I didn’t enroll them in Peewee leagues when they were very young so we haven’t quite acclimated to it yet. I know that when our kids come home from school now if there is any disruption to the routine it leads to a breakdown of the system by bed time and that is something that I try to avoid at all costs.
I am very excited to see the kids play a sport and it has been an odd lifelong dream for me to actually be a soccer mom. I know that that too will pose its own challenges as Little Sister doesn’t know anyone on her team and the coach is unfamiliar as well. The good news is that it is limited to Saturday morning/early afternoon and I won’t have to switch the whole night time routine during the school week but I’m still a little apprehensive. I know there are parents out there that have their kids in multiple activities and spend a great majority of their time together in the car transporting them from one place to the next. I can appreciate how much work that takes but I can sincerely say that I don’t envy that situation.
I have yet to master the feeling that I get before we take on something that we have never done before and I’m learning that it’s wise to stop resisting it and just feel it. As silly as it might sound there is something that makes me feel a little sad about filling out a calendar with lots to do and places to go. I know that is a luxury and that extracurricular are things that people budget for and hope to provide their kids with but it still makes me a little nervous seeing the next 12 Saturdays on our calendar semi full.
Which leads me to the quote I found on Russel Simmons Instagram the other day (if you don’t already follow him, and appreciate enlightenment and echoes of peace, please do…) that said something along the lines of “believe that the universe is rigged in your favor” and how thinking that will reverberate it back in to reality. Whoa. Deep, right? Well, that is my plan, to believe that it is rigged in my favor of working out and allowing all to be well. I might need to mediate on that further, but not for at least the thirteen more Saturdays…I’m bookend until then.