Soccer mom!! Soccer fun!! So excited!!!!

 

Screech!!!

 

Elijah isn't into soccer — not yet, and maybe not ever. There are seven kids on his team, and at any given moment in a game or in practice, six of them will be excitedly circling the ball and/or the coach like a pack of wriggling little puppies. The seventh, my boy, will be studying something—trees, people, grass. If he’s not in deep concentration on who-knows-what, then he is loudly announcing that he needs a BREAK. Then he comes and sits in his chair with his water bottle and watches the rest of the team run around like they’re at Disney. And he studies them with detached interest. Watches them like they are in an experiment he is running.

 

It appears that I don't have to worry much about peer pressure impacting his decisions, and I don't think he is going to be much of a follower. He seems to be quite satisfied with his choices. No amount of perceived joy on the field sways his decision to relax for a bit.

 

Of course, this may change. We are only a couple weeks in to the season, but the season is only going to last a couple more weeks. I was kinda sporty when I was in school—more so in my head than in my actual talent, but nonetheless, I appreciate a good team competition. I have really been looking forward to my kids taking up sports. I love the lessons that being a part of a team instills. I want that for my littles. I really want that. And while it is premature to think either of my children are, or are not, 'in to' any certain thing, I have to at least brush up against the idea that what I hope for and what I get may be two different things.

 

Darn it.

 

And….oooo.

 

These little people are of me, but they are not me. They are a mix of me and their father and some third thing that is wholly and completely their own. It is my job to encourage them, to push them, and to follow them where that mix leads them. Both follow and serve as a buffer. I've had to remind myself of that through these last few weeks. Elijah gets to be Elijah. Elijah is perfectly Elijah. With a bit of encouragement from me, Grace has agreed to try soccer when spring rolls around. We will let Elijah choose whether or not he wants to play again. I'll be signing them both up for more team sports in the future, and they will have to give some different things a chance (at least), but if they decide something isn't for them, then I'll tag along until we find what is.

 

Band mom! Chess mom! Dance mom! Robotics mom! Reader mom! Whatever—as long as I get to be my littles’ mom.

 

We all need that, don't we? We need permission to be exactly who we are. I think sometimes well-meaning parents, society, and friends conspire to make us feel like we are supposed to be something that is outside of us—something that has been defined by our culture as what a mom/dad, wife/father, (insert your job here) is supposed to be. But God created us as complete beings. We only have to be who we are, and nothing more. As a matter of fact, the more I try to fit a mold, the less I am anything.

 

Maybe it's silly and maybe it's just me, but I'm just now learning how to relax and be who I am. I'm learning to not care about what anyone thinks about me except God. You know, if you try to please God, you are pretty much bound to please every other healthy person out there. The people who you don't please either have their own issues to deal with, or perhaps you slipped up a little. But all you have to do in that case is look inside and see if your actions meet up with who God intends you to be. If not, apologize and move on, and if so, keep on keeping on.

 

I used to think that people’s perception of me had something to do with who I am. In reality, they do not. If someone doesn't like what I'm doing or thinks I should do something different, it is not my job to figure that out and make a change. It's their job to come to me and talk it out. That is incredibly liberating….when I remember it.

 

It's costly to try to fit someone else's mold. It's costly to try to be who people think you should be rather than who you are. It costs you, and it costs the rest of us. We need the real you – not some made up pretend you. You were created for a specific purpose that cannot be served as long as you are distractedly looking around trying to figure out how to please everyone else.

 

So, I'm going to do my best to help my littles understand that they get to be whoever they are. They don't have to live up to anyone's expectations other than their own. I'm going to try and instill in them the values and self-assurance that allow them to be comfortable in their own skin.

 

Based on the little boy sitting in his lawn chair observing the game, I'm on the right track so far.

 

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