Friday, August 12, 2011

Oh! The Places You'll Go

Parenting will take you to many strange places.

Like to your knees. 

First, in the early days when you would leave your little lump with a toothless crackhead if she would guarantee you five uninterrupted hours of sleep.

And then later, in the crowded waiting room of a doctors office when you are nose to nose with a three-year old in the thick of a tantrum, delivering death threats through gritted teeth and a plastic smile.  

And of course, when you hit your knees in prayers of thanks for these amazing, perfect little people you've created.  Hoping to the heavens above that you don't screw them up.

And to stranger places still. 

Like last night, when I found myself in my garage with one wide-eyed Monster-Monkey.  We were squared off. Him, clad only in his football girdle and socks and me, engaged in the best three-point stance that eight months of pregnancy will allow.   My purpose?  To demonstrate the singular purpose of a nose guard, to absorb multiple blockers and knock people on their ass, not to put to fine a point on it. 

Am I so dedicated to the game of football that I felt it necessary to conduct a post-practice technique seminar in our stuffy, stagnant garage? No.

But after watching our Monkey meander about mindlessly during a live scrimmage, giving a half-assed effort where full steam ahead was warranted, I knew instinctively that he was over thinking the game.  As I watched my Monster I could actually see the wheels in his head turning, trying to make sense of the pile of players as they converged on the line of scrimmage. 

In the car on the way home I saw one fast talking Monkey-Maker growing more and more frustrated as his overly intelligent Monster-Monkey tried to process and parse the movements of all 22 guys on the field. 

An intervention was needed.

So there in the garage, down at eye level with my little lineman I explained that he could give his brain a break.  That on his 9th day of practice nobody expected him to know "everything,"  he only needed to know one thing, that at the end of every play we just wanted to see evidence that he had worked hard.  We wanted to see him "knock people on their ass." 

A small smile slid across his tearful face as he digested the directive.  The moment hung heavy in the humid air.  Mommy, distributor of discipline and supplier of snuggles, was handing out athletic advice?   There was something unorthodox that made it click.

He scurried up to hit the shower and I collapsed on the couch next to the Monkey-Maker.

Parenting is hard. 

Wonder where we'll go next.


  1. Rah, Rah, Siscum Bah--go fight win! Way to go Mom!

  2. I like the way you told this story here.

  3. Wow! You really are dedicated to football. I bet your little guy will never forget those words of wisdom. :)

  4. I admit, I'm still caught thinking about the fact that there's something called a "football girdle!"