When the boys were babies, old men and women would "ooh" and "ahh" over the handlebar of the stroller at my angelic sleeping child and say “they grow up so fast” a million times. I’d kindly nod my head and smile, exhausted from lack of sleep and counting down the days to the monthly Moms Night Out when I could drink way too much and pretend I was 25 again—of course paying for that decision for hours the next day.
At the doctor’s office, I was having small talk with a nurse and inevitably the conversation comes to children—"Do you have any? How many? What are their ages?"
I shared my sons’ ages and she immediately gets a nostalgia look in her eye, “Oh that’s such a wonderful age. Legos, Star Wars…Oh, I just love that age.”
I nodded my head, “Mm-hmm."
As a parent, you know that when you are knee deep in any stage, you aren’t really appreciating it. I wasn’t appreciating the stage when my youngest son wouldn’t let anyone hold him but me—all the time!
Now I have to sneak hugs and kisses in when I can.
I didn’t appreciate the stage of having to always hold my children’s hands—hunched over my back in pain—while they learned to walk, to cross the street or walk in a crowd. Now, they want to do it on their own without any help.
As I vacuum another small Lego piece into my Dyson—a piece that inevitably will be the all important piece to complete the Starfighter—I admit that I am not appreciating the stage we are currently living in.
The nurse tells me about her 20-something son and how she blinked and he was graduating high school, she blinked and he was graduating college and now she doesn’t see him but a few times a year. I got a little misty with her as she looked off into space telling me—the heartbreak was apparent on her face.
She remarked that if she could go back in time, she’d put him in less activities. I asked her more about that because it’s often a conversation amongst the moms on the playground: what sport your kid is going to play this season.
My children are not inclined to play any sports. They are barely interested in anything involving a ball, so it’s not a situation that I’ve had to deal with. I have felt pressure from other parents about the decision to not force my children into sports.
“They need to learn how to play on a team," they say. “How will they learn that you can’t win every time.”
I get looks, when I tell them I’m not enrolling either of my children in a sport, baseball, soccer, football or otherwise. Of course my children will learn these lessons from being in school, in summer camp, members of a rather large family with divorce and step-relatives.
We can learn how to work on a team by being members of our community and my children are very aware that they aren’t the winners every time. I actually feel the need to boost their egos a bit so that they have faith in their abilities.
If the boys were interested in sports it would be a different story, but they aren’t. And it’s not something that I feel needs to be pushed.
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