The first eight years of parenthood were tough. It seemed like I’d never get to a point where I wasn’t helping my kids do something.
Then just like that it got easier. Suddenly they could get their own cereal. They could bathe themselves. Dress themselves. Clean up after themselves. (Well, let’s not get carried away.) For the first time since they were born, I wasn’t constantly chasing after them making sure they didn’t somehow poison or mortally wound themselves. It was lovely. Blissful! I figured I’d made it through the fire, and from that moment on life would be simple once again.
I was woefully mistaken.
Little did I know that the school years would bring on a whole new set of challenges and burdens. One of these in particular was sports. Pretty much as soon as they began their school years my kids started playing soccer. At first it was cute, taking them to a practice here and there and a game on Saturday morning. But as they got older, the once-a-week practices became two. And those hour-long Saturday morning drives to their games got old real quick.
This year, in a momentarily lapse of reason, we agreed to let the kids play on two teams each during the fall. Plus, my daughter wanted to run cross country too. Suddenly there were practices every night of the week and multiple games on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes my wife goes one way with one kid as I go the another with the other. We are no longer adoring parents, we are underpaid Uber drivers, hauling the kiddos all over God’s creation every moment of what used to be our free time.
Sure, we’re not changing diapers multiple times a day or chasing after crazed toddlers as they make a beeline for an electric socket, metal object in hand. But now every second of our time is helping them with their homework and shoving some type of foodstuff down their throats before hustling them into the car so that we can make it to their practice or game on time. Then we’re rushing home to help them finish their homework, before fighting with them to take their first shower in three days and then hustling them off to bed so that we can get ready to start the whole thing over the next day.
It’s exhausting just writing about it.
Sometimes you wonder if it will ever end. At the same time you hope that it never ends. As the school years pass and the sports seasons end, you realize that you’re way too close to the end than you want to be.
So you try to make the best of it and appreciate that your kids are still young, all the while you shiver in a soggy bag chair in the pouring rain on a Sunday afternoon, while the rest of the world is warm and toasty indoors watching the Steelers game.
It’s a hard sell, let me tell you.
But I know one day I’ll miss all this craziness, just as now I miss those days of watching my kids splash around together in the tub, before dressing them in their PJs and reading them Goodnight Moon for the gazillionth time and then going to bed only to be awakened several times a night because they need a drink of water. One day it will just be my wife and I, sitting alone in our way-too-big, way-too-quiet house, longing for the days when our kids were actually still kids and still needed us around.
But as for right now, if you need me, I’ll be over at the soccer field. Or driving there. Or driving home from there. For the hundredth time this month.
It’s just what I do. ~
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Copyright © 2019 Valentine J. Brkich