I spend much of my time hanging out in parking lots. Parking lots and soccer fields. Parking lots, soccer fields, and the roads in between my home and those places.
We made a bit of a leap this year, and signed the girls up for a club soccer team. For those not familiar with the concept of club soccer, (which was me, not long ago) here’s the gist: It’s super competitive. It’s a year-long “season”. They have very high expectation of their players. It’s expensive. It’s a huge time commitment. A HUGE. time. commitment.
Crazy thing is, joining up was my idea. Yes, the woman whose mission in life was keep her kids from being over scheduled. The one who spends money on nothing extraneous. The mother who has placed priority on quality home “together” time since she’s had kids, went and signed her girls right up for this team, enthusiastically.
My girls eat, sleep, and breathe soccer. They don’t aspire to be Girl Scouts, or to join cheering or chorus, or to play softball or hockey. No. They want to play only soccer, all the time, so joining a club team seemed like a no brainer. Although we registered the girls with excited anticipation, I have to admit to privately mourning the demise of our slow lifestyle. No longer would we have our afternoons and evenings together, or our long, lazy Sundays. I worried it would be too much for them. I imagined hurrying them through homework, shoving a sandwich in their hands for dinner, and dragging them to their many practices.
But, you see, once again I have been surprised by my girls, and by life itself. It seems that all my agonizing about what it would be like with club soccer in our lives was totally unwarranted. In fact, we have actually found pockets of quality time and unexpected delights where I never thought these things would exist. Like, in parking lots. And on soccer field side lines, and long (long!) drives to games.
Homework and reading time, done while waiting in the car, seems easier than ever, without all the distractions of home. We’ve seen the most gorgeous sunsets, in the big skies of soccer field complexes. I’ve carved out a little more time do some things I haven’t made time for lately, like knitting (two pairs of fingerless gloves, perfect for cold practices, comin’ up!) and reading.
We’ve made new friends, and enjoyed time outdoors that we might not have made for ourselves otherwise. Precious face-to-face conversation time with one child occurs regularly now, where we rarely had the opportunity before. My mum gifted me a slow cooker, and I’m appreciating the genius of making dinner in the morning, so that it’s ready for whoever needs dinner at whatever time that night. The girls are flourishing with their new coaches and teammates. In other words, it’s all good.
Indeed, our lives are a little more disjointed time-wise, but I feel just the opposite has happened for our family, relationship-wise. I am savoring this time with my girls, knowing that one day soon they’ll be driving themselves here, there and everywhere, and doing their best to avoid dear old mom. Until then, you can find me on the field, in the lot, or on the road.