Monday, March 26, 2007

Make Way for Soccer

I've got two kids starting their spring soccer season this week--Samantha who's 12 and Nathan who's nine. This may not sound like that big of a deal, but it's a huge deal. Nathan's obsessed with the game, and has been trying to play soccer in various venues since Christmas. (One of those venues in the living room--augh!) He is elated that he can finally team up again in the fresh air with his soccer buddies. I am elated that he has that release he's been craving, that he'll get the heck out of the living room, and that he can start beating the fence to death with his "scores."

Sammie's on a co-ed team where the kids are 12-18. I was initially worried about this. I thought, "I'm not going to let Sammie play with a bunch of 18-year old boys!" Turns out that she is one of the youngest, but there's no one over 17. Still, that's a huge age gap when you take maturity into consideration. But last fall, it wasn't an issue. They all just get out there and kick the ball around, not in a very skilled fashion, either. Their favorite part of the game is the treat, the parties they have periodically at someone's house, and coach Kristen, who is the most energetic woman known to womankind. She cheers them on with reckless abandon. (She also makes amazing homemade chocolates at Christmas time, beside the point!)

So now we start the driving thing again. Two games a week, two practices a week times two kids. That will put a fair number of miles on my already-aging mini van. Speaking of the van, the first week of March it needed a new starter motor. The third week in March it needed new front and rear brakes. Today it's in the shop getting A NEW TRANSMISSION. All in one month. The guy at the transmission place said since it only has 109,000 miles on it that it's totally worth putting the money into it. "Of course he said that," I told my husband as we left the shop. "He wants to install a new $1,800 transmission." He knows I want to junk it and start over. He knows it's not prudent to do so. He told me so. He wins. OK. I will drive the thing until it's no longer driveable. Yes, and I'll do it with a smile. Ok, a half smile.

So, I find great joy in watching my kids wear themselves out on the soccer field. Great joy. I love to see Nathan red-faced, sweating and limping off the field. He pours his heart and soul and body into the game like nothing I've ever seen before. This means he will not need wrestling nor will he try to play ball in the house that night. He will sleep well, and for the required amount of time set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics (or whatever it's called). I say, wear him out, coaches Blake and Catherine. Torture the kid, please!

I just love to watch them with all their youthful energy. I think it's so fulfilling to see my kids out there running around, learning to play, learning to get along, making friends. It's fun to see them pour themselves into something they love, something that can stay with them all their lives. I love to just sit there and watch. You wouldn't catch me out there running around like a maniac. I'm perfectly happy in my lazy Mom chair with my diet coke in one cup holder and cell phone in the other. I'm happy as a clam. Especially if the weather's nice and I have another Mom to talk to. I'm right there when someone gets hurt. I will stand up and cheer if my kid scores, or if any kid on the team scores, for that matter. I'll even let a sweaty kid sit on me if they get hurt for a little while.

That's the life in spring.

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