At some point in the past couple of months, my daughter joked that I have become a “soccer mom” during my sabbatical. No, my children did not take up soccer recently. Soccer Mom is a phrase to describe a particular kind of suburban parent. I know that this "title" could be interpreted critically. The title has been stereotyped in the media to describe over-privileged, snobby, rude, and clueless individuals who devote their lives to carpools and PTO meetings.
So, let me say, that I totally appreciate the men and women who make our schools and community better by volunteering to serve in countless capacities! And, I understand that driving busy kids here and there can be very a big job. And I am blessed beyond measure that my husband is typically the one to schedule doctor’s appointments and plan carpools and schlep kids (or kid, as the case may be now that one is driving) because it is such a big job.
So, I took this new title as a term of endearment. Why not? I mean, I hope that I am not clueless or snobby or rude. I know that I am privileged, but I try never to ever forget how fortunate I am, or how grateful I am for all the great gifts in my life. So, I pray that I received this honorary (and term-limited) title because it has been my joy to be present to my kids and their activities more now than I am usually able to be.
I have cheered Rachel and her friends on at Track meets. I have cheered Matthew and his friends on at Frisbee tournaments. I have baked cookies for Track parties and for Frisbee barbeques. I have baked brownies for a music concert in which my children were not performing, just because the music program is important to us. I have attended the Architecture Fair, in the middle of a school day, in the middle of the week. I have traveled the East Coast to assist with a college search. I have traversed our Human Anatomy Systems to assist with a Biology project.
I have loved being a full-time mom for a while. And I am amazed at how much time it takes, and I recognize how important it has been. As I stood at a track meet, some parents I met reminded me of this essential truth: we have such a short time left with our kids. They are growing up and moving on so quickly. And we want nothing less for them, but before long, time with them will only be for visits. (Unless, of course, they move back in someday after they have moved out. I do know that happens.) Still, these are days to cherish.
For a few months I have been given the gift of time to cherish my kids. That doesn’t sound right. It sounds like I don’t always cherish them, and I do. Or at least I try to. (You know – some days more than others!) But, I don’t always have time. Mostly, life feels rushed, or like there aren’t enough hours in the day to enjoy all the activities that are supposed to take place within any given 24 hour block. When I lose sleep, my patience goes too. When l lose patience, my guilt grows too. It is a vicious cycle. In such moments, my family can get the worst of me, not the best.
So, it is with a great deal of joy that I have been able to be a Sabbatical Soccer Mom for a few months. Because life is fleeting and children grow up, and I want to cherish my days always, so I am cherishing my days now. I won’t always be able to go to every meet or every tournament. I won’t always be the one to bake the cookies. But I will always be grateful for the time that I can share with my kids and my husband. For the gift they are to me, I am blessed beyond measure.