Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Swimming upstream

As you know, I feel a little out of place in suburbia. I am trying but it's still hard. The other day I was at our neighborhood coffee shop for a quick caffeine fix. I ran into Samuel's soccer coach from last year. We chatted for a few minutes. He then asked me why I didn't sign Samuel up this fall. I wanted to say, Do you not remember how tortuous it was to watch him? Remember, he was the kid begging to be on the bench. And when he was on the field, he was either looking for bugs or staring off into space. But I kindly told him that Samuel is in school for seven hours a day and that tires him out quite a bit. I didn't think he could handle a sport right now.

He then proceeded to tell me that his kindergartner daughter is not only in soccer but also in softball. She goes straight from school to soccer practice and then to softball. They don't get home until nine on most nights. I innocently asked him, "So, does she enjoy it?" He thought about it for a little while and said, "I guess so." I can't even imagine doing that to my kid.

But guess what I have been doing lately? Second guessing my decisions. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's living around people and constantly talking to them about all these "great" activities their kids are in. And mine aren't. I started wondering if my kids are not going to be well rounded enough. Or not athletic enough. Or made fun of because they're not in alot of activities.

But then I sat back and took a deep breath. I looked at my boy out in the backyard. He had a huge ball of string and was mapping out an obstacle course. He had dragged old tires from the garage, empty paint cans and a bunch of tricycles. He spent an hour out there, using his brain and his creativity.

At times, I feel like I am swimming against the current. It's a fight. But as a parent, I will continue to battle for what I think is right for my children.

On Sunday, we were at the dog park and a young couple struck up a conversation with us. They interacted with our dogs and our kids. As we were heading out, the woman said, "Thanks for talking with us. Your children are wonderful. You guys have helped me realize that raising cool, well mannered(yes, I know....) kids is possible."

I needed to hear that.