“You really know how much your parents did for you when you have kids of your own.”
When one of my mom friends said this to me I couldn’t nod my head vigorously enough. As I sat and watched my 4-year-old play his first t-ball game it dawned on me how incredibly boring these events are. It’s only
bearable cute when my son is actually up to bat or comes in contact with the ball in some form (even if it’s him tackling a teammate who fielded it, but still). Other than those precious few moments, that one hour at a baseball field in 90 degree heat is a bit of a letdown.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem sitting there for 58 minutes of boringness to see two minutes of my son show his athletic prowess (high fiving the opponents as they run by him is a skill, right?). But the time investment with these things is insane. I muttered something under my breath related to the snail’s pace of the game when the grandparents in my life reminded me that these are the moments I will treasure as my kiddos get older. Hindsight is very powerful; I’m sure they are right.
And that got me thinking about all the crap my parents sat through as I grew up. Dance, gymnastics, soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, track, Girl Scouts, piano lessons, and the list goes on. All the practices, all the games, all the events. It’s only now that I can fully understand the sacrifice my parents made to always be present. For the most part, I know they enjoyed chasing me around from activity to activity, but I imagine there had to have been times when they reminisced to the pre-kids days and the sense of time being infinite.
I now look back at my childhood from a different angle. Not the one through my own eyes and experience, but through the eyes of a parent. And damn, that gave me perspective and major appreciation. I admire my parents for their ability to be present. It’s one of the major pillars I lean on to raise my kids. As my husband and I make important decisions for our family, I always bring it back to how it will impact me as a present parent. If that decision would cause me to miss out on my son’s very
boring cute t-ball games, then I’m going to have to say no.
As a millennial who has often been stereotyped as selfish, I could not be further from that in how I value my time as a parent. Let me be clear, I still make time for myself, my passions, my husband, my happy places. Balance is certainly key. But I think of those things in smaller, short-term increments. It dawned on me at week six of my son’s existence (as I ugly cried realizing I had miscalculated my maternity leave and would be returning to work earlier than expected) that we only have our kids in our home for 18 years. THAT’S IT. I’ll be their mom forever, but this time in their young life is fleeting. I don’t want to look back and regret anything in terms of how I spent my time as a parent. I don’t want to miss a thing (cue Aerosmith track).
So I will be there. At every game, activity, concert and performance my kids have. No matter how mind-numbing they may be.