When running an errand over the weekend, I parked my car by a neighborhood baseball field. I slowed my pace when passing by, because a T-ball game was going on and the kids looked to be kindergarten or maybe a little older.
It made me immediately nostalgic for the days when my children were that age and when I was the one in the uncomfortable bag chair watching the action on the field unfold.
My youngest child is graduating from junior high in a couple of weeks, which means the true childhood era is just about over.
Sure, I can still help out with high school sports teams, making food for pasta parties and helping manage concessions, but popping in for lunch duty and watching grade school games that are not my kids specialty sports will be a memory now.
I’m sentimental, then, and looking at things in a new light and with a new perspective.
So. Back to that T-ball game.
As I was strolling past, I saw a little boy lift his bat in that way that 5-year-old boys do when the bat is super heavy and they are just trying to figure out aim, speed and strength.
At the same time, I also heard parents on sides yelling, “GO!” and “THROW IT!” as they cheered on their particular kid or their kid’s teammates.
That part made me cringe, not so much at these young parents, but at the thought of my younger self at T-ball, baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball games and track and swim meets. I thought of all the times I scrunched my up face when they made an error, muttered something like, "Oh, man!” to a parent next to me or yelled more than I cheered.
I did that. I wasn’t the soccer dad who screamed at his 8-year-old daughter to get the (insert expletive here) ball, an eyebrow-raising moment that spurred me to give him an incredulous stink-eye.
I wasn’t the mom who told everyone around us that the extra lessons she paid for just weren’t paying off with her daughter's perceived weak performance.
But I was the mom who sometimes, OK often, took it too seriously, especially when the kids were little and the games were inconsequential and should have been about the fun and not the outcome.
I’m so embarrassed by that now, and apologize to my kids for the times I made them feel badly about themselves. Those are times I can’t get back, and boy, do I rue that.
If I could tell my younger self something I’d tell her to just sit in the chair and watch her kids do something they love. or maybe something that they don’t love but are trying to figure out.
That was the whole point – not the points on the board.
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