You’re doing it even when you’re not doing it. You’re doing it, especially when you’re not doing it because little eyes are watching you. And also, you’re practicing those characteristics you’ll call on later when you are parenting.
It’s not the big moments, but the incremental tangles and triumphs that lead to what you become as a parent – and what direction your child takes as a result.
This list could have been 55 things, but I kept it to five. Let’s talk about it. Feel free to add to these five, or bring up an observable aspect of your own. Parenting has changed my life and shaped what I’ve become as a coach and a writer and so much more.
It pains me to say that but also doesn’t. Camdyn didn’t give the most glowing review of Solo: A Star Wars Story. What we have feared for years seems to have come true: Disney might just be stinking up our story.
I didn’t ask for details.
We’ll see, though. When Disney first got ahold of Star Wars, I was apprehensive. I ended up crying in the theater! (My girls noted that all the other old dudes in there also cried.) I don’t want to cry sad tears again for the loss of the story I grew up with.
Not the writing that pays the bills. Although, that’s been a slough too, to be honest. I read lots of cool newsletters and emails about writing newsletters and emails. They help. They add skills or ideas or just gumption.
You can do stuff with gumption.
I have a secret writing process I’ll never fully disclose. It involved random choices and brainstorming and generally thinking within rules I set for myself so that I can think outside the box. Well, it probably wouldn’t make much sense to describe anyway.
I’m not worried about jinxing it. I never have. Things aren’t perfect. Are they ever? But optimism … it’s tough to cover up. It’s like that first day of warm sun in the spring. That first deep breath of a kickass meditation.
Or how your car smells like pizza the day after you bring home takeout. #mmmm
It’s like having your good shoes on with a huge hike ahead. Deciding on a lineup change your rival hasn’t seen yet. I’m not sure it’s a 2019 thing. I don’t know when it started. I know it was good today. Shifts. Adjustments. Rules set for me.
I used to be a football player. And I used to have big hair. Not really at the same time, though. My football days, I was clean cut. Didn’t even have a mustache. It was the 80s, not the 70s. And I didn’t have long hair until high school.
Anyway, the coach and dad they see now has stories.
Not Superman stories, mind you. But stories. In middle school, they called me Speedy. Okay, it wasn’t the school team. It was intramurals. All the real players played real football. But all things being equal … I stood out in the field.
After a season of grit and a whoopin’ or two, we made the state playoffs. They assigned us in Round 1 to a remote outpost: East Wilkes. That’s in Ronda, N.C. That’s not a lady, that’s a town, although there was probably a handful of women named Ronda about.
We lost 8-4 in a crazy match that included eight goals from one player – and a view into the valley so breathtaking that I said, Damn, son, that’s a helluva view you guys have up here to the kid serving as ball-boy for the match.
I was grateful for one last game. I was grateful Remmi made it, hobbling in on crutches but in good spirits. I was grateful we fought back to within three, twice. I was grateful for the annoying siren they turn on when they score only rang out … well, eight times.
It’s a good thing when you’re a dad. As they’ve gotten younger, they don’t come to me for hand-warming much anymore. Maybe they outgrew it. Maybe they gained the gift of warming coils in their hands like dad’s – who knows?
In junior high, a girl once touched my hand during lunch.
I know, right? It’s true though. She couldn’t get over how soft and smooth my hands were. That was cool and all. She was touching my hand, for Boy George’s sake! But then teenage me began to wonder if she took it as a sign of weakness.
Tuesday was such a day. If you’d told me I’d cry some of my happiest and saddest tears in the same day – some in the same hour – I’d have, well, been eager to see how. I’d have never guessed. It began with a soccer match, on a senior day.
It ended with tears in silence as I learned all I could about a shooting at my alma mater.
In between, the day’s events intertwined and intersected. This is what I meant by my Y post yesterday. Time spent away from writing is time spent creating the writing through living. I can’t say it was a bad day and I can’t say it was a good one, either.
When the kids say something about subs at a soccer match, my mind goes to steak and cheese. Or turkey and avocado. It’s just how it is and I can’t change it. But the distraction is mostly temporary.
When I sub a kid into a game, it gives us a bit of a forum to talk that we don’t normally get.
You’re my mom’s favorite coach, but not my dad’s one girl told me. A new player told me how nervous she was to get in. Hayden didn’t spend a lot of time there, but as she waited to go back in after getting her first yellow card, we both tried not to snicker too loud.
We do #gratitudeandshit around here. Why not #kickasskindness? Kindness kind of gets a bad rap. Like, me, in middle school, when someone started the rumor that I curled my hair. Psh. It spreads like wildfire. Or negative Yelp! reviews.
People equate kind with weak. But that’s not always so. That’s why I like when one of my players trucks another player then helps her up. That’s sweet, right? It’s like, not in my neighborhood, !@#$!, then, you okay, sister?