One beautiful spring day I was caught up in the glory of watching my youngest run like the wind at a softball game. I was so excited that I found myself screaming and hooting her name. A friend (really, not snarky, a good friend, who was just teasing) said, “Oh, so you’re THAT mom.” I had to pause and think about it.
In the past, I have been the snarky mom rolling my eyes at the parents who get all riled up and scream for their kids. Why did that bother me, yet here I was doing the same?
At the age my first-born was playing baseball he hadn’t yet been diagnosed with a physical condition that was working against his little body. He was slow, uncoordinated, and athletics was a challenge. When I heard moms screaming for their sons, blazing their way through the bases, it clenched my heart. I hadn’t had the opportunity to be that parent until my strong, swift, youngest gave me the chance. I wasn’t thinking that my child was better than any others. (She spent more time playing in the dirt than playing the game.) I was only basking in the glory of watching a child who had all the muscle strength, and connective tissue stability, to allow her to just be normal!
What an eye-opening experience! You mean… those moms weren’t trying to make me feel bad about my son’s performance? They weren’t even looking at him at all to know whether he was good, bad, or even breathing? They were simply just caught up in the moment of loving their child?
Fast forward through several years of physical therapy and physical development. My Boy-child isn’t the same kid he was years back. He’s still uber lean, and as hyperflexible as a bendy straw, but he’s got more power and control. He is easing back into sports. This year he joined a basketball team… and damned if he isn’t good! I was sitting through a game a few weeks ago and suddenly started hearing people shouting his name. Say WHA? Shut the front door! He was the rebounding demon! His arms were everywhere. This week he had several assists, rebounds, and made his first basket! His team had a big win! I was off the bleachers screaming!
Afterwards I felt like going to every parent and apologizing. “I’m sorry. I’m not really an asshat. My kid hasn’t really gotten to taste athletic victory before. He has a mild physical disability. He’s a miracle. I’m sure your child dribbled crazy 8’s around him, I just wasn’t watching…”
I realize though, that I don’t owe those parents the apology. I owe the apology to the parents that I judged in my head. I owe the apology to God, and the universe, for putting out negative energy where parents were just enjoying watching their own children have fun.
I’m a screamer. And a hypocrite. Can I get some salt to go with this big bowl of word salad that I now must eat as a peace offering to karma?