It’s hard for me to believe, but it appears as if I’ve become “that” mom: the incredible, do-it-all woman who sacrifices everything for her children’s benefit. Well, okay. To be fair, we should take away the “incredible” and “do-it-all” parts, and probably the word “everything”, too. I’m certainly not in that league, but I’m a little bit closer now than I ever thought I’d be.
Since before my children were born, I’ve sworn that I would never be the kind of parent who sacrifices entire weekends to my children’s sporting events, much less the kind who carts them from one end of North Texas to another while doing so. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’ve ever had anything against “those” moms. Actually, I’ve always admired their selflessness– I just never thought I had it in me to do the same.
For years, my husband and I held firm to our conviction that city league or YMCA sports were just fine for our three children, but last month, something changed. Our 12 year old expressed an interest in club volleyball (gasp!), and we caved. It didn’t even take minimal prodding on her part. Our little angel expressed an interest in honing her volleyball skills, and my husband and I were tripping over each other to get her signed up. Last weekend, she had her first-ever club volleyball tournament. It was two or three counties away, and she needed to be there at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. 7 a.m.? Sixty miles from home? On the only morning of the week I get to sleep in? No problem!
We were there all day and–I grudgingly admit–I loved it! Even the hours of downtime were okay. Our daughter was having a ball, and we reveled in her excitement. I can honestly say, “I get it now.” I get why all of those moms and dads give up their free time, put tons of mileage on their cars, and lose a whole lot of sleep in the process: the thrill of watching their children compete, and watching them thrive in a highly challenging environment. Even in those moments of defeat there’s victory because our kids are learning and growing from the experience. And let’s be honest. It gives me an opportunity to practice being “that” mom. And after 14 years, I have a lot of catching up to do.