I’m going to put it out there….we are a family that you could read about in a magazine article. And, the article wouldn’t necessarily be a positive one. Yet, I think it could be. Perhaps, it even should be; at least in our circumstance.
You’ve read about, or heard about, or even know, that family that is busy. I mean, crazy busy. Perhaps, it is even you that is that family. Want to know where I am any given night or weekend? Better go get my kids’ calendar. It will tell you where to find me.
Monday – Lou’s gymnastics
Tuesday – Coco’s baseball – fall fundamentals
Wednesday – Coco’s basketball practice
Thursday – Coco’s baseball – fall fundamentals
Saturday – Coco’s flag football
Sunday – Lou’s baseball & Coco’s basketball games
Over scheduled. That is the word the articles use. Children who are too busy to enjoy life. What if, just what if, it is the children who are dictating their life and schedule? I know, I know, you looked back at my schedule above, right, and thought, “It is not possible for a child to want to do all these things, be this busy.” Yet, trust me, it is.
My Coco recently considered adding in an additional Speed and Strength class that would be held on Mondays and Wednesdays. Yes, that would mean he would have had two things to attend on Wednesday nights. He would have done basketball practice and then went immediately to baseball class. Coco decided, on his own, to participate in the classes, then, decided, all on his own, to forego them. He looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m not sure when I will do all my schoolwork.” So, we crossed that off the list. See, dictated by the child.
Lou, she wants to do a second night of gymnastics, and add in softball, (her baseball season is about to come to an end). And, heck, I have to tell you, anytime we are home all she is doing is gymnastics on our furniture anyway. We might as well add in a second night where she can vault on a vault table instead of on my creaking, about to break, sofa.
The articles you read, they say that children aren’t able to be children, when they are busy every evening. That there isn’t enough family time. That these children are overwhelmed. I disagree. My children LOVE their activities. They are happy, and smiling. They are interacting with some of their very best friends. They are boosting their confidence. And, as far as family time goes, we are together all the time. Watching the kids. Coaching the kids. Riding with them in the car. They feel, and experience our support, in their desires, and dreams in life, first hand.
I tell Coco, often, that the more he can manage, the more he can juggle, between school and activities, and not get overwhelmed, and still be successful, the better off he will be as he gets older. I share with him that it isn’t ever going to get any easier. Nor will he be less busy. That all of this is great preparation for life. Tell me what is bad about this? About preparing children for the realities of life and all that is demanded of them.
Oh, and guess what else….my children are very healthy, and fit. They are not sitting around all of the time playing on their XBox or iPad. They are outside, playing the sports they love. And, many times, one, if not both of us, their father or I, are outside right along with them playing too. My home, my family room, has become every court or field you can imagine. Baseball field, basketball court, hockey rink, football field, gymnastics arena, soccer field. We are constantly tossing the ball in the house. Yes, in the house. Saturday, at flag football, Coco had an amazing one handed interception and run for a touch down. As I watched him I yelled out, “All that playing in the house is paying off! I’ll take credit for helping you to make that catch!” Most often, when playing football in the house, it is the crazy high, difficult pass Coco wants me to throw to him. And, most often, you will see him try to catch the ball with just one hand. Score! The fun practice has paid off!!
I ran into a lady I know today at the grocery store. We were taking about our kids and sports. Her daughter is the age of my Coco (10) and she plays softball. More recreational than Coco’s baseball. She was talking about how her daughter wishes to play competitively and how she doesn’t know that her family is ready for it. She knows that Coco plays competitive tournament ball. and I told her, “It’s not for everyone.” As this is definitely the truth.
This Spring/Summer, Coco will play ball 12 out of 19 weekends. And for 7 months, encompassing these 19 weekends, he will practice baseball three nights/week. While he and his father are at the ball field there is a very strong likelihood that many of those weekends Lou and I will be at the gymnastics arena. The lady at the grocery store looked at me and said, “I couldn’t do it. We wouldn’t want to do it. We enjoy spending time as a family.”
Yes, I thought again about those articles I’ve read. Those articles that describe our life, yet, have it all wrong. Same as she does. She said, “We like to go camping.” I said, “There is nowhere I would rather be than on a field or a court watching my children enjoying their passions. We are still together. It is just that I am supporting their dreams.” I shared with her that Coco missed out on playing baseball the last two Mother’s Days as it has snowed the last two years. She looked at me like I was crazy. Her response, “The last place I would want to be is on a ball field on Mother’s Day! I’d rather be at a spa, getting pampered, drinking mimosas.” Hmmm…..there is nowhere else I would rather be. She then said to me, “People think their kids are going to be the next big thing. Get a full ride scholarship. It just isn’t real.” Once again….hmmm….all my Coco has told me, since about the age of 2, is his desire to be a professional baseball player. Will it happen? I don’t know. Does he have the heart, skill and passion to make it come to fruition? Yes. Does he have parents that will support him the whole way in his dreams? Also yes. If he isn’t a professional baseball player someday, as it is a very lofty goal, will I care? No. As long as he is able to handle the disappointment, which is my job to teach him along this journey. All the same, I will support him every step of the way.
My children are busy. That leaves us, as a family, busy. Remember the ladies words from the grocery store, “We enjoy spending time as a family.” Yes, we enjoy spending time as a family also. We are almost always together. We always sit down and eat dinner as a family. Even if it is at 8:15 at night and the children go straight to bed after finishing. Do we still find time to play board games? Yes. To see a movie? Yes. To travel? Yes. Perhaps some of it is your mindset. I mean, if I have one thing to accomplish, well, let’s just say that I usually get it completed at the last possible moment of life. Now, give me a busy day, a full schedule, many, many things to juggle, and you will see me thrive. Watch me multi-task like none other. I think my kids are the same way. The busier their schedules, the more they prioritize, the more they get accomplished. Give me our busy lives any day.
Let the articles say what they want. Let people think what they want. Some of my best memories, some of my best friends, some of the best moments of my life have come from the busyness that we live. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And, if you asked my kids, I am guessing they would tell you the same.
Originally Written 12Oct15