Yesterday evening, the weather was fine, and the whole family of us were out playing ball in a beautiful green field of clover and grass. We were among friends, adults and kids both running and playing. What was wrong with this picture?
Nothing, really. The only problem is this - it is soccer season again. My husband is co-coaching Emily's team - he is well qualified as he actually played soccer in college for a year, as well as varsity in high school. I am co-coaching Hazel's team - I never played soccer, but having observed Emily's teams for almost 5 years now, I feel myself richly qualified to coach 5 and 6 year olds' play. We set up our practices for the same night, selfishly and for our own convenience, so that we can avoid over-scheduling the whole family. So we have one crazy evening a week and 4 relatively calm ones (occasional work meetings for each of us, but no organized activities).
I love how soccer is good for fitness; I love that even the players who don't score run around and get exercise. I love being outside for hours at a time, and I love the teamwork. I really, really enjoy all the parents on this team - some of these kids have played together for over 4 seasons (spring and fall separate), and the team has a great atmosphere, competitive, positive, and with great camraderie. I don't have a minivan, but I respect that for friends with more than 3 kids, carseats alone make a minivan a requirement, and I myself have sometimes wished I could transport 4 children at once.
The only thing I wish were that this scene - parents and kids outside, playing, laughing, engaged - happened more often, and more informally. I wish it happened building treehouses, walking dogs, running, and at playgrounds. Sometimes it does. But more often than not, the only time we get together is soccer. And perhaps this is because the other nights are all taken up with baseball practice.
P.S. The 23 chicks are all well; post coming this weekend about chick dingleberries and the routines and delights of pet care.