I’m Not Your Babysitter

All three of my kids participate in a soccer program. I chose the program based on the fact that all three, though divided into separate age groups, would be playing at the same time frame. This not only provided less chauffering and scheduling but also meant an hour of breathing time for me. It meant an afternoon time slot where coaches would be in charge of my children rather than me.

This is why I became so annoyed with another mother. She was messing up my “alone time”. She was inadvertently invading my space. How so? Through her C-H-I-L-D.

As I sat enjoying the fall weather that finally enveloped the Midwestern states, I sat back with a book in hand with one eye on the pages and my other “mom eye” on my kids as they trotted across the soccer fields. Finally … the kids were bought into the play and were leaving me alone (with the added benefit of exercise and team camaraderie). Suddenly a shadow appeared over my book. My space was being shared with another small body, one that did not come out of my body.

A little boy around the age of two was mumbling on about the tree that I had set up my mom camp next to. At first I said hello and was nice as pie to the little guy. But then after about 3 LONG minutes it was apparent that he was not leaving the space that I had designated as my territory.  What made matters worse is that this little boy had snot cascading out of his nose and past his top lip. It wasn’t the clear kind that is caused by running in cold weather, rather it was the thick slimy green kind that can only mean an infection. Along with his constant chatter was the on going smack against the tree that he continued to conduct like a Mozart of the forest. He had acquired two fallen sticks in both hands and was slapping the side of the tree with both again, again and AGAIN.

After another three long minutes of annoyance I stated to the little person that he should probably go find his mommy. After looking at me with green boogers slipping into his mouth, he gave one last slap to the tree and galloped over to his mother that was standing with three others as they babbled on about  _______ (please enter whatever boring subject you’d like). He pulled and pulled AND pulled on her jacket when she finally took notice of him. I’m not sure exactly what he said but she looked my way and gave a wave and a smile. “At last” I thought, “Peace and quiet — take care of your own kid.”

I settled back into my spot and within in moments that snot monster was back, mumbling louder and hitting harder. I looked past him at his mother who just gave the same wave and nod. “Um, WTF??? Are you serious? Lady, I am not your babysitter.” I wanted to take her waving hand and wipe it across her face to erase that clueless smile off her suburban face.

Rather than demonstrating an act of violence in the suburbs of the Midwest against an obviously clueless mother, I picked myself up from my cozy spot. I then used the opportunity to get closer to the sidelines of each of my children’s practices. Ping-ponging between the Terrific – 3’s and the First grade scrimmagers.

Now when I reflect back on the annoyance and the mindless mother …. maybe I was the one who was clueless. Maybe the stick swinging, germ carrying little dude was actually sent as a wake-up call from a greater power to have THIS mother focus more on her kids rather than the book in her hand. Maybe my little people needed to see me fully in IT, completely in the moment cheering them on and giving a thumbs up when their tiny little feet managed to kick a ball bigger than their heads into the goal. Maybe the banging of the stick was a banging on my head to get my ass up and walk over to see my growing first grader in a competitive foot-fight as he ran full speed as a 6 year old … because one day he’ll be 7 then 8 then 9 then 12 then 16 then 21 then married ….

Well played universe, well played. I hate snot, I hate germs, I hate loud smacking noises over and over …. what better way to get me fully in the game, the game of LIFE that is.

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