Spiderman was five, six…seven max…when he was locked out of a gym right in the middle of The Tall Blonde’s volleyball game.
I’d been tired of him repeatedly running up and down the bleachers…the pounding and movement of the rolled-out steps grating on my nerves . So, when he asked if he could play in the back hall off the corner of the gym…I agreed.
Of course, I didn’t know the door would lock behind him and to be honest, it wasn’t for quite some time, when he tried to come back in, that any of us knew.
There we were on one side of the gym…and there he was, locked between one door and another…a hallway of the school…trying to speak through the wee crack in the metal doors…my lips pressed up against the cold metal that goodness knows how many dirty hands had touched…trying to convince him to use his little boy strength to push down on the handle’s button and try to push it open while he started to freak…while I tried to calm him…and while some kid needed me to move out of her way as I happened to be in the exact spot where she needed to serve the ball…
I hated volleyball.
Game after game I dragged two hooligans to watch their sister play. They didn’t care. Didn’t want to be there. Had to pee. Wanted snacks. I spent more time watching them…telling them to sit, be quiet, stop running, stop climbing, get off the court…then I did the game.
So, when Bones told me she wanted to join volleyball, I kept my “I hate volleyball” to myself and helped her find a club. Then, when she made the 14U Tier 1 Team with the Bedford Blizzards, I hooted and hollered along with her as she squealed in delight when she saw the team list.
This last few months, I’ve driven to practices four times a week…not once telling her I wasn’t a big fan of this sport she simply can’t get enough of. Then this weekend, it changed.
As Bones spiked and blocked and served and tipped. As she laughed and smiled. While I was on my feet pacing…my heart pounding in delight with each set they won…match after match until finally, the championship banner was placed in their hands.
It was AWESOME. I loved it! And now…I’m questioning my parenting.
For years, The Tall Blonde played this game. Through Junior High and High School…with the Metro League…she played. I recall her sadness when she was benched and didn’t receive the play she wanted. Happiness when she did. I remember how excited she’d be when she made the team.
And since this weekend, I’ve been questioning the kind of parent I was…that I had little to no interest in a sport my daughter dearly loved and I’m left with one conclusion.
I was tapped out.
I was chasing two small children with a husband who worked away from home. Attending games meant dragging two young ones to gym after gym where bleachers were a jungle gym…where out of control balls were like a magnet to Bones’ head. Where Spiderman got locked out not once but at least twice that I remember…and possibly a third time in the equipment room!
Dragging two little ones to a gym for volleyball games was one of the most un-enjoyable things you could possibly imagine.
So…to my sweet and darling daughter who first introduced me to this game…I apologize! I’m sorry I couldn’t participate like I can today. Know that on the days I did drag the “littles” behind me…that I REALLY wanted to be there or why on earth would I have done it! On the days I didn’t show up, know that I was always happy to hear your stories when you arrived back home. And on the rare occasions I managed to get there on my own…I’m sorry if I took the time to socialize rather than watch you play. Believe me…I needed the break.
To Nancy Delahunt…I owe a huge thanks for recognizing that I was in the middle of “the crazy years!” Thank you for taking The Tall Blonde under your wing. For cheering her when I wasn’t there…for taking her to tournaments…for picking her up and dropping her off. From the bottom of my heart…I thank you.
To Mom and Dad…thanks for every single game you attended. For knowing the schedule even when I didn’t. For showing up and staying late even when it went past your supper hour! Thank you for loving the game…but loving your grand-daughter more.
To the janitor who eventually got Spiderman released from the locked in hallway…thank you for putting up with my foolish child and his uptight mother. Know that the second time he found himself on the back of that door…he delightfully knew the way out.
And to Bones…have fun, play hard…do your best…I’m cheering you on! I love this game you’ve chosen to play.
And that wasn’t always so.