Another Saturday. another soccer game.
Another tiny tot hustling on that field.
You'd think that by now I would be used to being proud of my kids. I'd be used to that feeling that just warms my soul at watching them try their hardest, give their all and have so much fun.
But I'm still just shocked that these beautiful creatures are mine.
And I'm caught by the thought of all the times I will be cheering them on from the sideline when I really want to help them by shoving all the obstacles they'll face out of the way so they can score that goal. Whatever that may be.
But - if I'm doing that then how will they know to find their own way? If I never let them go off course then how will they ever know how to change directions?
My time on the sideline has arrived and I plan on taking this role very seriously. Being a cheerleader, water carrier, memory catcher, and first aid giver. And every now and then, the mom that brings out HER old stuff for them to use - note that water jug.
(Confession - I used to fill it with SWEET TEA during games. Oh, metabolism. How I miss thee).
When it comes down to it, there is so little about parenting that you can actually prepare for. You can read about pregnancy, take child birth classes, and read books on every topic under the sun but you are never fully prepared.
And I'm constantly reminded that I'm learning as I go, just as they are. This was Radley's first week at goalie and when he could have been nervous, he showed confidence. When he could have played it safe, he took risks.
When he could have kicked the ball away, he grabbed it. How often does it feel like we are playing goalie for the first time? Constantly.
I feel like I'm swatting things away left and right and hopefully leading by example for when they should do the same. And then this happens - we watch them shine. We watch them in their element. We see that they can and will be surrounded by people who want something from them and we watch them defend either themselves or their friends. We watch them run as hard and fast as they can and that's easy on the field. There's one ball and two teams. Simple ... but then...
when it's harder than just which side is ours, we show up. To coach and to guide and pray that our lessons and practice has served them well.
We offer high fives ...
and make spirit lines...
and cling tight to what we know.
We huddle up and regroup and talk shop and then, we realize this sideline thing is about way more than soccer.
I just hope I have enough orange slices to share for a long time to come.