Saturday, September 5, 2015

As Long as He's Having Fun

I've been gone from here. I hadn't meant to be gone so long. Can we just slow things down? There was Nick's birthday, back-to-school business, football practice, end of the summer stuff, and then Nick was actually back to school and my free time was supposed to be free. The only problem was that I went  back to school as well.

Why do I volunteer my time away? I helped for pictures. I did a PTSA finance audit. Why did I agree to help with a PTSA finance audit? I don't want to add up numbers and crap. I just don't. I only agreed to do it because my friend is the PTSA treasurer.

I also agreed to help with meals for Nick's football team. I like feeding kids. I like the feel of the industrial kitchen at the school. It's so clean and efficient. I did dishes on Thursday. I actually liked doing dishes there. I wish my kitchen were set up so I could get water all over and that would be okay.

Next week should be easier. It should. I don't have much planned except for the food for the football team. The nice thing is that I'm not organizing it. I've organized food for 37 people for a camping weekend and that was crazy. I don't want to figure out meals for 158 people once a week. I'll chop vegetables. I'll serve portions. I'll do dishes. I like feeding the kids, but I don't want to organize it.

In the meantime, I'm drinking too much coffee. For three weeks, I've been waking up before 6:00 am even on days I'm able to sleep. After dropping Nick off, I've been going to a coffee shop and they give me a bigger size coffee than I'm asking for. It's nice, but there's a reason I'm asking for the smaller size.

This is all boring shit, you know. Boring. BORING.

So what else can I tell you about?

There's the waiting. Nick's football practice hours are a suggestion. I can show up on time to pick him up and he isn't done for a half hour. What the hell? I've had parents say that there isn't time to do homework on game nights. Really? He isn't expected to do his homework?

I'm sorry. This is boring too.

Can you see I've been sucked into the machine? I'm volunteering a bunch of my time for an organization that don't have any idea of what I really intend to do with my time. I wanted Nick to get exercise and he is. His calf muscles are showing the lines and form of each muscle these days. His shoulders are wider. His coach said he's as strong as an ox.

But I also want him to get an education. In the long run, he's going to need the education more.

I have to remind myself that this isn't about what I want for him any more. This is about what he wants for himself, with a little bit of mom-wanting thrown in for good measure.

But why did it have to be football? Why couldn't it have stayed karate? Why couldn't it have been swimming or music or art? I get those things. That's one of the challenges of being a parent, isn't it? It's my job to support what he loves, even volunteer my time for it. But football?

I have a boy who is a lot like me in temperament, but who is interested in stuff that is entirely different than stuff I'm interested in. I'm watching a bunch of football these days. I never watched football before. In the afternoons when the kids aren't done practicing, I walk up into the stadium and find myself looking out over a sea of red jerseys and searching for my boy's silhouette. What is he doing? How is he feeling?

I'm not entirely sure he's all that good. He's not experienced with football. I can see that he's not the first to volunteer when kids are called. He stands at the back of the crowd. By looking at his silhouette, I can't tell that he loves it though he says he does. When he finally gets into the car after practice, his chatter is all about bruises and plays and what the coach said. So what do I know?

So far, I haven't been expected to sit through college or professional football games. If I did, I'd pick a player that had Nick's solid silhouette and I'd privately cheer him on. I'd watch for evidence of his enthusiasm from across the field. I'd look for injuries. I'd try to see, after all the years of practice, if it looked like he was still having fun.

As long as he's still having fun, I think, but what about me?

Thank you for listening, jb

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