Yes we have entered into yet another phase. A couple of weeks ago Everest started going to soccer practice. He never really got into it. In fact the coach tried to get him to join in and Everest points to the sky and says “LOOK, a dragon fly!” And that about sums up soccer practice. He wasn’t too keen on doing stretches and warm-ups. I tried to sit down and do the stretches with him but he leaned over and asked if I could go now. Ooops, my mistake, I guess that was embarrassing for him. Edison on the other hand really was getting into it. And when the coach had them all break out into a game of “Sharks and Minnows” Everest just stood there with a puzzled look on his face as if too say ‘I don’t know what you guys are playing but this isn’t soccer”. He was expecting to play soccer and this was anything but soccer. He wanted to get out and kick some ball. However, by the end of the third practice Cameron and I began to share that same puzzled look with Everest. Not once had there been any mention of the actual game of soccer. OK, I know this is cub soccer, how technical can you get. But, there was no let’s practice kicking it into the goal, no mention of what to expect at their first game, nothing. Just Sharks and Minnows. As he just stood there on the side while all the others where busy running around, I got up and went out there. As I approached him, he turned and whispered with his hand out in a stopping motion, “Mom, what are you doing out here?” Ok, I get the point this is embarrassing you. But, I took a moment to explain he needed to practice with his team…. it wasn’t happening.
So when game day arrived Cameron and I were anxious to see what he would do. That morning I asked if he was ready and excited to play. He said very concerned and thoughtfully, “I’ll have to think about that, I’m a little worried”. Apparently he’s gone to one too many of his dad’s soccer games, because he was worried the big kids would knock him over. And then there is Edison who is so excited to play and even has his own soccer gear and has to be included in it all or his heart is just crushed. Because his birthday falls in the month of October not in August he will not be able to play for another two years. And that breaks my heart. But, he is such a good sport about it and he comes all dressed and ready to play and he sits on his ball on the side lines and watches and waits.
Well the time had come and he wanted nothing to do with the field. He didn’t even want to go near it. While Edison is dying to get out on the field. Once they started he wouldn’t rotate in. Just as I reassured him that it was safe and no one was going to get hurt, a girl got nailed in the face as the soccer ball was thrown in. After some convincing we were able to get him on the field, with Cameron right by his side. So there is Cameron running around the field with a bunch of little four year olds and Everest is trying desperately to stay clear of them while trying to hang on to Cameron’s hand. He was so relieved when his turn was up. I gave him a hug and told him how proud I was that he tried. And asked him if he was ready to go out again, Shaking his head no as we witnessed two players running into each other and falling down. This wasn’t helping matters. Despite the minor mishaps he did go out two more times (with his dad right by his side avoiding the ball and all the little cub players). It was still a Victory!
After the game was over everyone packed up and left. We stuck around and Cameron and the boys practiced kicking the balls into the goals. Everest came alive and was kicking them in left and right, running his little heart out. Maybe by the end of the season he’ll be comfortable enough to play like that with his team. But, for now we’ll take the victories as they come.
Cameron and I have been learning a lot about parenting as Everest has entered into this new stage of life. Not only about parenting but we’ve been learning more about Everest and his personality and needs and more about us. It’s a delicate balance and there are many fine lines that need to be discovered and highlighted as we try and help him discover himself and become comfortable in the world around him. Over all I’m pleased with how we handled the game. We didn’t baby and pamper him nor did we force or shove him onto the field. We lovingly coaxed and encouraged until he was willing and ready to give it a try, even with his dad by his side. That’s ok, that’s what dads are for. And it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t play next time, I think the real goal here is that this frightening new horizon becomes positive and is a stepping stone for him.