What dreams may come

dreams

At one point, almost 4 years ago, I had another blog and wrote this post, which now, makes more sense, makes meaningful sense.

My husband’s sport to play, watch and breathe is baseball.

He played baseball throughout his school years and used to, during his not as chronically injured days, play on a Sunday Softball League. So when our then 5 year old was finally old enough to be signed up for t-ball, you could only imagine my husband’s excitement. And when it came time to hand out uniforms, it warmed my heart to hear him say, “I want to be number 5 like daddy”. Upon sensing “Steve’s” excitement to play, my husband enthusiastically signed up to volunteer, and who could imagine,not even himself, that he’d end up being the head coach.

He researched drills and coaching practices found on blogs ironically titled, Pray for Rain.

When “Steve”, being the youngest 5 year old on the team, took to the grass for his first practice, his age became apparent, swinging the bat like it was a lead weight and running after balls like it was a game of tackle football. And when he took to the field in his first game, what became apparent was his sense of humor and non interest in the sport. He burped and joked to the other kids on the bench. His zig-zag run to the bases became a dance of shuffling dirt. The outfield was his own personal sandbox. And his turn up at bat was more like he took stage and the spotlight was on him. While one of the coaches was giving him pointers and trying to get him to look at the ball, showing him the correct way to hold the bat, his head was turned in the other direction, yelling jokes to his teammates on the bench.

He loved every second of it. And isn’t that the point?

Where we look at sports as a way to nurture dreams, maybe the message is just that, let your kids be kids.

I swam my entire life from the age of 4 until I graduated college. Swimming was and is in my blood. I wanted to be an Olympian and break multiple world records. The walls of my room were adorned with pictures of Mary T, The Albatrosse, and pages I’d update with goal times above my bed, as if the success would come to me in my sleep. Even though I had a couple failed attempts at making the Olympics, I was successful. Swimming took me around the world, provided me with a great education to one of the best schools in the country and provided me with many experiences I carry with me today.

Swimming shaped me into whom I am, as a friend, a wife and a mother.

My dad always recounts my start in swimming, at the age of 5, the same age my son is now, walking down to the pool in the apartment complex so I could learn to swim from the life guard who had “taken me under her wing”.

30 years later,I still remember her face.

He also recounts with vivid description and expressions I’ll never forget, my first experience with earning ribbons and winning and losing. He says throughout my swimming career, especially early on, I was in the moment, enjoying life and enjoying swimming. And he’s right. I can’t recount a lot of the experiences I had in swimming, I remember making great friends, traveling to beautiful places and setting goals. I remember the successes and of course the let downs, but the emotion I get from remembering swimming is as clear as day.

I remember the feeling you get on a Saturday morning, when the air is just right, entering the cool water on the first warm up for a weekend meet.

I remember the smell of chlorine that often hung with me through out the day.

I remember what it felt like to achieve my goals, what it felt like to have dreams to chase and what it felt like to be involved. I lived and breathed swimming.

I never remember my parents pressuring me. Of course, when I realized swimming was something I wanted to do they encouraged me to stay committed and involved. But I never remember feeling like it was something I HAD to do, it was something I WANTED to do.

They nurtured MY dreams they didn’t create them for me. They didn’t base MY dreams off their own.

Maybe that’s the key.

When your 5 year old takes the field in a t-ball game, swim meet or soccer erase images of future Ryan Howards, Michael Phelps and David Beckhams from your head and remember that it is exactly that, your 5 year old taking the field in a t-ball game.

What’s baseball today, may be 7 card Poker tomorrow.

Watch your kids grow and develop.

Watch their interests change, their humorous side come out, introduce them to new things and let them become their own being.

Now at 8, almost 9 it is apparent that “Steve” may never be an athlete. He may not even like to participate in sports. He likes Lego club, building things, drawing things and creating things. And he excels at whatever he puts his mind to. If it weren’t for kids like “Steve” we wouldn’t have the Wolfgang Mozarts, Temple Grandins, or Andy Warhols of the world.

Find out what your child’s niche it and let them blossom into their own person.

And watch what dreams may come.

Out-of-Stock

As I walk down the aisle of the grocery store, I realize, maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.

 “Grace” is singing and twirling and doing cartwheels, oh and one of those cartwheels almost took out an elderly woman with a cane, I kid you not. And as I search the shelf for my favorite type of  Hummus, I very hesitantly look over, to a rustle I hear on the ground and “Emerson”, yes, “Emerson” the 4 year old has pulled “Steve” the almost 9 year old to the ground and they are fighting. Well, “Emerson” is riding him like a toy shop pony that I just slipped a 50 cents into for some entertainment.

Whose kids are those? Get them off the ground this instant! I feel like yelling and then I remember they are mine.

All mine.

And as summon “Grace” back to the cart with one of those,”do another cartwheel and it will be the last cartwheel you do look” which obviously didn’t work because she did another one (lucky Wegman’s is big), I bend down to break up the fight/rustle with dirt balls/slightly embarrassing show of brotherhood my boys have going on at my feet. Prying “Emerson” off of “Steve” is no task either. He strong like bull. “Steve” on the other hand, is tall and lanky and just under 5′ tall at 8 years old is floppy as floppy can be. Wind can blow him over. Anyways, wind or not, he is up, and “Emerson” is buckled in the cart, but now screaming, a murderous scream that can be heard throughout the store, while “Steve” starts asking me questions, questions to which either I don’t know the answer or can’t hear over the murderous screaming coming from “Emerson” so “Steve” starts talking louder….

“Mommy, what day is June 18th? Is it a Friday?” he asks. I think it’s January, I have no idea what day June 18th is. 

“Mommy, what day is June 18th? And What day is my birthday? What year will my birthday be on a Friday?”

So I go onto explain about leap year and how days change forward usually one day except on leap year two, not sure if that is correct but my reasoning sounds perfect in my head, and so does my explanation as it comes out, pretty good.

Way to go mom.

Until “Steve” starts screaming too, “What my birthday will be in April and then in May?” he is upset. “No, its only the day that changes, not the month”, I explain. But it’s too late. “I can’t believe my birthday will be in April, do we just skip March?” And I see where I made the mistake in my explanation, but it’s too late now.

And now it’s “Grace’s” turn.

She wants to hold the eggs, push the cart and she is fighting with “Emerson”, who had finally calmed down trying to get him to say a bad word. (“Emerson” has a speech impediment and when he says the word “Broke” it sounds as clear as day like the “F” word. I found out in the middle of an eerily quiet Target store, during a tug of war over the candy canes. Anyway, once “Steve” and “Grace” found out it was downhill from there.)

And I hear “Steve” yell the “F” word at the top of his lungs and I swear the grocery store shut down, the lights went dark and a huge spotlight came down from who knows where and everyone turned around, looked and gasped. And the mom, you know the one, dressed nice, hair in place, matching outfit, no stains on her clothes whose kids walk nicely next to the cart holding on? She turned around and went down another aisle.

And this sign flashed in my head, but it was neon:

ImageAnd then I turned around to see if I was on one of those shows, you know, like “pranked” and Ashton Kutcher would jump out and be like “I got you. You’re pranked!” And my kids would start laughing and it would be one big humorous joke. And everyone was in on it. Nope,that didn’t happen. And it never does. Not that I expect it too, but it helps to wish a little, or so I hear.

As we make it to the self-checkout, which by the way is a big self-mistake, I.am.fried.

But what the heck, standing in line waiting by the candy would be worse?or so I convince myself. “Grace” and I, yes. “Grace” and I, start fighting over who is going to scan the merchandise, “Emerson” is attempting a Houdini move and has maneuvered out of the shopping cart lap belt, which should be more like a cage with prisoner lock down for him, and “Steve” is pacing back and fourth across the 4 aisles of self checkout lines swinging a roll of clearance holiday wrapping paper like he is the only one in the store.

Without realizing it, but the time we have all the bags in the cart, “Emerson”, who I need a leash for,has made it half way down the walkway and it starting to run, so we start to sprint to catch him. Yes, sprint. I ditch the cart with “Grace” and “Steve” and get my fingers on his collar just before he hits the busy street In front of the store. And I exhale.

Kids-456 Mom-1. (And the one that counts, trust me, it’s the little things. Did they all leave the store alive and safe? Check!)

As we make it to the car and everyone is buckled in,I look back before getting in my seat and they smile, they are laughing and they are happy and I think, obviously persuaded by their cuteness and maybe by how deliriously tired I am, that trip wasn’t so bad.

Maybe next time…