It's easy, in a family of so many boys, for a sport, that 5 or more boys are playing and a dad is coaching, to become the living, breathing, eating focus of every moment of its season.
It has felt like football had taken over our lives the past few months. School work, schedules, church activities, sleep, meals all of it has been effected.
Except for #4, somehow he just calmly does whatever needs to be done in each moment. At football he is consistent and diligent he plays to the best of his ability and expects everyone else to do the same. He is supportive of other players and does his best to be on time and focused at each practice or game.
School work is finished each day, he even signed up for a study class so he'd have extra time to get it all done.
At the beginning of this school year we signed him up for 8th grade orchestra. He had learned to play the electric bass and we figured it was the same as the string bass. The orchestra teacher (who looks about 17 years old) corrected our assumption that the two basses are the same and let us know that she would accept #4 into 8th grade orchestra only because she had no other bass player in that group.
#4 stayed after school and worked with his teacher 2 or 3 days week. He practiced diligently. We could recognize tunes immediately and were impressed, but we were so busy with football that his efforts largely went unnoticed.
#4's football team was really doing well. Every game won! Playoffs beginning. One night #4 mentioned a concern about a conflict he could see coming. His football games were on Wednesdays and in two weeks he had an orchestra concert on Wednesday.
I gotta admit I'm not that scheduled a person. I figure if I can get through this week that two weeks from now will take care of itself. So I gave him my best advice. "Well, we'll just have to pray that your football game is at 8:00 and your concert is at 7:00 and then you can do both; but, I will support whatever decision you make."
#4 debated the decision for two weeks concerned he would have a choice to make. And, he did! Tuesday before football practice he asked me what he should do. His concert was at 7:00PM his game at 8:00 PM. This was an important game, his couch wanted him at the field for warm-ups by 6:45, he was a starter, and 2 other boys were going to miss the concert for the game.
This is when parenting is really gut wrenching. I'll beat my boys into submission without a flinch; but, helping them decide between two equally important and worthwhile activities, YIKES!
We discussed the similarities between the activities, how football was a team sport and he was important to the team; but, that he was the only bass player and had made a commitment and received a lot of personal help from his teacher as well. #4 decided that we had to do both. So at 6:45 PM, despite the strenuous protests of his coach and his two older brothers, #4 was in his seat, dressed in Sunday best, waiting for the concert to begin.
Adorable Hubby and I found seats and waited. I sat silently praying it would all come together and that we had parented effectively, that the right decision had been made.
7:03PM. The concert begins, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is squeaked out by the 7th graders.
7:09 PM It was a long, stinkin' version of Twinkle, Twinkle...
7:10PM The orchestra teacher begins explaining exactly how she wants the students to practice, she has them demonstrate each technique.
7:20PM Adorable Hubby has elbowed me so many times in the ribs that I was actually thankful, for the first time ever, that I have padding. And, I was seriously questioning my parenting.
7:25 PM 7th grade Orchestra leaves the stage and 8th grade files on. Thankfully they are seated quickly and the lone bass player is perched on a stool bow posed ready to begin.
7:26 PM The first song starts, the deep, perfectly tuned notes of the bass add fullness and harmony to the music.
7:29 PM The song ends and Adorable Hubby and I are in tears as the teacher praises the efforts of this group, she begins to put the microphone down for the next song, Adorable Hubby and I sigh with relief, she brings the microphone back to her mouth. "Oh one more thing, we're so thrilled to have Ben Smith here tonight as our bass player he has done a years worth of work in just over a month."
7:30PM Adorable Hubby and I can't see the stage. Yep! We both know that we're big boobs and that one of us has big... never mind.
7:33 PM The second song ends #4, Adorable Hubby and I run for the car.
7:50PM After a quick in car clothing change including a stop at home for forgotten cleats, lest you think #4 isn't all forgetfully normal teen boy, we arrive at the field.
8:00PM #4 begins his best game of the season. Boy Mom cradles a hot chocolate and gives Adorable Hubby a few, I'm not a nut job parent after all, elbows to the ribs.
10:15 PM #4 comes into our bedroom for a goodnight hug. Adorable Hubby tells him, "Now don't tell your brothers I said this... you played an incredible game tonight and I was very proud of you; but, I was even more proud of your efforts in orchestra."
We're an all boy house and sports seasons, especially football, can consume us, thanks to our amazing son who's choices reminded us that life is most beautiful when it is balanced.
And, last night his team won the middle weight championship. Football season is officially over. YAY!