Monday, September 27, 2010


He is out on the field with his new team. The A team. The team he was moved up to this year. The team that was ranked number one in the top bracket of boys U9 travel soccer teams in this area. The competition is fierce. Everyone at this level wants to win.

He was a leader on his old team. He had unending confidence in his abilities.

Here, he doubts himself. You can see it in his play. On his face.

Here, he is wondering where he fits in.

As he told me yesterday, here, he feels the need to impress someone. I asked him whom he needed to impress. He is not sure. But, he feels the pressure still.

On this team, the boys will turn on each other for errors.

He misses a defensive opportunity.


He is off his game today.

His little round face. It looks over to me on the sideline. Reassurance?

He looks little and big all at the same time. It’s what eight and a half looks like. That place right in between.

I want to yell that it’s just a game. Something to be played for fun. But, I know how important it is to him. How hard he works. How much he loves it.

He is a good athlete. He will settle in eventually.

It’s one of those hard moments when there is little we can do as parents to secure them any more. He is out in the world now. He has to face his successes and his failures. But, as his mother, it is hard to see him out there struggling. Trying.

The season has just started. There is plenty of time to adjust.

His life has just started. And there are many mountains ahead of him.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Boiling Point


It’s everywhere when it comes to raising children these days.

Both of my eight year olds play travel soccer. They each practice twice a week and have games on the weekend. Yet, some of the children on their teams are now attending extra practices. Just to try and improve. Some more. It is not mandated by the coaches or requested by the children. But, their parents are taking them. Sometimes, B and A will make a comment about it. I tell them not to worry about it. They get loads of practice in already.


Every one of the boys on my son’s soccer team is also playing fall baseball or football. That’s in addition to the travel soccer. This year, we told B that he had to take the fall off from baseball because his sister started playing and traveling also. Our family (me) needed to see if we could manage this new schedule. Travel tryouts for baseball are this year for him. Will he be behind the curve now? I’m not sure.


We attended their school curriculum night on Tuesday. Most of the other mothers that I talked to the next day were not pleased with how things went. People are disappointed in the pace for this year’s learning. They are hoping for more of a private school experience at a public institution. There was lots of discussion regarding the extra work that will have to be done at home to get the desired results. In order for them to be competitive when it comes to college enrollment. They are currently eight.


When we were young, we did an activity because it sounded like fun. Because we were interested in it. Maybe we did one thing at a time. Throughout my childhood, I took ballet lessons, played softball, swam on the swim team, participated in girl scouts and was in cheerleading. I loved these activities. They were fun. But, I never had more than one going at any given time. We did not come home from school and race around from one thing to the next. We never ate dinner in the car. I just wonder if these kids are going to burn out before they even get to high school. It’s my sneaking suspicion that they might.

So, I try to place limits. Let some of the steam out of the pan. I refuse to drive them crazy at this early of an age about these things. Thus, why we opt out of the extra practices and the extra sport for now. Thus, why A had to let girl scouts go this year when she chose travel soccer and orchestra. Give and take. I’m not sure where everyone is heading with all of this. The constant push. The constant quest for more. They want the superstar athlete on multiple teams. They want the A+ student that is Harvard bound. They want it all. I just wonder. What do these children want?

No pressure.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Here and Gone

This summer was a bit different from those in the past. I was disappointed at the start of it in June. We had a few camps to participate in. We were still adhering to our sports schedules as they wrapped up for the season. It didn’t feel all that different from how busy we were during the school year.

I longed for a little escape. I wanted a way to pare things down. I yearned for my children to have an old fashioned summer.

You know the type. I’m sure you had them yourselves. I wanted them to discover nature and what it had to offer. I wanted their toes to touch sand and run through grass. I wanted them to fish and swim and enjoy lakes or oceans. I hoped for them to be active on bicycles and water skis. I wanted long, lazy days figuring out what came next. If we could do all that with almost abandoning technology, that would be great.

And so we did.

We had to leave our house and travel for over a month to do it. But, we made it all happen for ourselves and for them.

Our first trip was out east. We headed to Cape Cod for a little over two weeks. The children swam in the ocean and in pools. They ran on beaches with nets catching hermit crabs and discovering seashells.

We were out on the water discovering these beautiful creatures.

They ate seafood until they were about to bust. We saw a great Cape League baseball game (go Chatham A’s!) where you did not need a ticket to attend and a hat was passed for a small donation. All great stuff.

We returned home for 3 days and then my sister and I headed to the opposite coast and took all six children to California. There, we stayed for a few quick days at a family members beach house. Pretty cool experience to see both oceans in one month! But, the majority of our trip took place at a lake house in Lake Arrowhead. We rode in the boat all day long. The kids swam in the lake. All but the two youngest learned how to wake board.

They were so brave and willing to try. The adults had great conversations on the deck at night, which included lots of wine and no mosquitoes! The children had two weeks that were one big sleepover with their cousins. Does it get any better than that? I don’t think so.

I know escaping is not going to be possible every summer. And it makes me a little sad that I feel like I have to run away from our life in order to get things to settle down a little. However, I was actually looking forward to seeing people when we got back. I didn’t mind the activities as they started up or the calls for play dates quite as much. We needed to recharge. And any time that I can spend just enjoying my children being children is worth the time and effort.

They started school at the end of last week. So, while it was great to be away and while we packed a lifetime into one summer, it really made time fly by. We did not do the summer things we typically do at home. In a sense, it felt all the more fleeting. I guess when you are spending time with people you love, whether at home or away, you can never get enough. It escapes us before we are ready to let it go. Just their presence each day made me happy. And the ability for me to be present was worth every effort.