Cleats, shin guards, uniform, water. He was ready. Newly purchased viewing chair, snacks for his younger brother. I was ready. All the essentials for a soccer game and what should have been a good time.
I thought about it. Dreamed about it before having kids. How exciting it would be one day when I — me! — could be that soccer mom. Driving the carload full of kids to and from practice. Soccer balls falling out the doors (which they do). Sitting on the sidelines. Chatting with fellow soccer moms/dads/parents. Enjoying a nice crisp fall morning with a coffee in hand. Cheering the team on.
So, I put the date in my calendar. The day I could sign my oldest son up for soccer. I had all the essential information. Registration papers, birth certificate, enrollment fee. I made sure not to be late, and I signed him up. Yes, my dreams were coming true.
He was also excited! New socks, shiny cleats, crisp shorts, fancy water bottle, and a ball with his name on it. He was ready! We packed up the car and headed off to the field.
Once we arrived at the field, my excitement dwindled. It was immediately clear that my son was the newbie to the team. It seemed as though the other children — and adults — were familiar with each other and had played together. I could see my soccer mom dreams floating away. Would he make new friends? Could he keep up with the experienced players? Would he like it?
During the game, I was constantly reminding him to sit with his team, cheer on his teammates, and pay attention. He was only 4, but I did not realize this was what I’d signed up for. My soccer mom dreams were not coming to fruition. I barely sat in my chair, I did not speak to any other soccer parents, and I certainly did not get a chance to drink my coffee. I found myself counting down the minutes until the end of the game.
Each week after that, he asked if he really had to go. Deep down I wanted to say no because I didn’t enjoy it, but I explained what it meant to be on a team, and we muscled through. I’m not going to lie — we didn’t make it to every game last fall. Mostly because of other commitments, but also due to our lack of enthusiasm.
I never would have thought after all my years of playing soccer and loving being on the field that I would not enjoy being the soccer mom.
I (we) have not quit for good, though! We will sign up again for a future soccer season, and maybe things will be different and I’ll get to live out my dreams of being that coffee drinking, socializing soccer mom.