We lost – get over it.

My girls lost their tournament game last night by an unspectacular score of 3-0. They were not hitting anything and our pitching could have been stronger. The bottom line – the other team was more “on” then we were for the hour and a half we played. Oh well, you win some and lose some, right? WRONG!
I was so bummed for my girls. The night before I had been anxious about the game and had nightmares about forfeiting it. How ridiculous. A half hour prior to the game, I had the girls throw and hit to prepare. I got them all revved up and put black ink under their eyes.
We got up to bat and my three best hitters struck out. 1-2-3. Are you kidding? Then my best pitcher went out on the mound and threw balls. The other team was well aware she was off and the girls just waited for a walk. Nonetheless, the first two innings our infield made spectacular double plays and kept the score 0-0. But we had one bad inning in the third – combo pitching and infield errors – that allowed three runs to score on us. And that did us in for the season. We could not get ourselves on base to save our lives. The girls just did not have their game on the way we needed to beat the other team. And that happens and it is ok, right? WRONG!
I lined up the girls after the last out and counseled them to congratulate the Giants and be proud of what they accomplished this year. Inside, I was churning though. After we shook hands, we circled up and I told the girls how proud I was of them; how they’d grown; how they’d come together as a team. They were dejected, and I was too. But I kept the mood upbeat and did not show it. We put our hands in the circle and chanted 1-2-3 “Go Reds!” one last time. One of my assistant coaches said “let’s also do a cheer for the Giants in order to be good sports.” The girls cringed. I followed up and demanded it was the right thing to do. Hands in the middle. 1-2-3 “Good game Giants!” we all cheered. And then the girls dispersed. Parents left. And I cleaned up bubble gum wrappers and sunflower seed kernels. I felt like I hadn’t done enough.
What is this perfectionist gene I got stuck with and why can’t I ship it off to never never land? Somehow my mind warps an excellent season with my third and fourth grade girls’ softball players to a lame one. The parents are probably mad that I didn’t coach better. The girls are going to be in a state of ruin because they didn’t get trophies. I should have worked harder at throwing and catching with them. Stop brain. Just stop. Do these gals pictured below seem dejected?!

Loosen up on the control, Mary. You can’t mold the future and what it will bring. You can’t do anything about a girl striking out or a missed catch. Life can suck sometimes and you don’t always get what you want. Life is messy and imperfect, girls, but you keep moving forward. It doesn’t help being a control freak and a bit OCD about needing everything to go perfectly but the game provided yet another teaching opportunity to me that things aren’t perfect and I can’t make them so. And DQ helped lessen the pain a bit, too….

And so we all move on to a new season in 2015, and embrace the great memories we have from this 2014 season, right?

Swim party = no mom

And so it begins….
The Grandview pool held a swim party on Friday night for incoming 4-6 graders. I was hoping Maria would want to go. I knew as soon as she found out Sophie was going that would deal the deal.
She and Sophie went to Mario’s tee ball game on Friday night. They ended at 7:30 and she was urging me to go so they could head to the pool. I told her it didn’t start until 8 pm but she didn’t care.
“We need to get our stuff and be the first ones down there!”
Eventually we got Mario to stop tackling his buddies and head home. Ri got on her swimsuit and packed her duffel with Sophie’s clothes and her clothes, sunscreen, and gum.

Then she asked for money. “For what,” I asked her.
“For snacks, mom. Swimming makes us hungry.”
I gave her $6 for snacks. Then Jon called her into the family room and reached over for his wallet to give her more. She held up her arm:
“No, dad, mom gave me money. We don’t need more.”
It was precious. If it was Mario in that situation, he would have closed his mouth and grabbed that money and ran.
We drove down to the pool and Ri asked me for the $10 to get into the event. I told her that I would pay.
“But I don’t want you to come in with us!”
Oh, I guess I have officially hit the “not cool” mark. I told her I would just go to the desk in the front and pay and then leave. She sighed but allowed it. We got there at 8:05 and there was a line 20 people deep. I knew I’d hear about it.
“Mom, I told you we had to leave earlier!”
But then she dropped it and talked to friends while we waited in line. Once I paid, they zoomed inside. I followed just to say goodbye…and make sure no one attacked her….
She stood in line with Sophie to take a lap swim test to show she could go off the diving board. I wanted to stay and root her on but she brushed me away. Sure enough, this was the start of independence and it at once made me happy about her confidence and sad that she wanted me to depart.
When I picked her up at 10:30, she was jumping off the high dive and having a blast with Sophie and her friend, Nina. She did not want to go. She had a great time. She was in one piece. No one had attacked her. All was good.


Peace and quiet by adding more kids to the house?

Jon and I stood at the kitchen island on Friday night with those looks of dread that come over our faces when we know we have an entire weekend with the kids with nothing planned.  How sad, I know.  I am used to running down to Cincy or heading up to Marion or Dover or trucking it out to the farm.  But strapping into the car seats every weekend has to tire the kids out and it also takes a chunk of change out of my wallet with the price of gas these days.  What happened to the $1.49 gas prices from my childhood (or was it $1.99? Whatever it was, it was a world of difference compared to today.).  What is worse is that the weathermen had predicted rain for all of Saturday.  One of my worst nightmares is not being able to go outside all day. 

The threesome at the pool

Luckily, we had sporadic showers on Saturday but a decent amount of sun and almost a full day of sun today.  Saturday, Dad and Mario went on “boy errands” which ironically consisted of dropping clothes off at the dry cleaner.  This activity was tempered by a trip to Home Depot.  Maria and I stayed put around the house reading her school books and playing the ice cream game and Fancy Nancy Go Fish card game.  We ate popsicles.  When the boys arrived home, I bargained with Jon – if he let me go to Stauf’s for a couple of hours, I would take the kids to the indoor pool.  Deal. 

Every time I take the kids to the pool, I develop a huge headache from the pull of Maria and Mario throughout our entire time we are at the facility.  Mario wants me to watch him “swim” and go down the slide; Maria wants me to play beauty shop or hold her and go under the “waterfall.”  So, I had the bright idea this time around to invite a friend for Maria.  Genius – no headache and lots of fun for Maria.  We brought Maria’s friend, Anna, another boisterous and daring girl like Ri.  Mario likes Anna, too.  He always has something to tell her (“Anna, do you want to see my power ranger…” “Anna, I like your bathing suit…”). 

Maria and Anna playing catch (with Maria "catching" Anna the first round!

Maria and Anna played the entire two hours together – I was only needed to take them to the lazy river and the whirlpool, which I did twice until Mario turned blue from the cold water in that area.  He rightly refused to go back a third time.  Mario enjoyed Anna’s presence, too, because I got almost all of his attention (he just wanted to me to fight the fountains with him by using my hands as swords and cutting through the shooting water – I am convinced he can take any object and find a way to fight it). 

Mario and his fountain

Maria and Anna went over to their friend’s house, Zach, after swimming.  Zach’s mom (who I adore!) made them tacos and they played hide-n-seek.  Maria came home at 8 pm zonked.  Beautiful.  Anna came over again today and the girls played at the park and up in Maria’s room with her barbies for two hours.  Peace and quiet for Jon and I to finish seeding the lawn (Mario played an hour of Wii basketball). 

Maria has always wanted me to do everything with her.  If I have to run errands, she wants to come.  If I want to take a run, she wants to come.  If I am going out with friends, she wants to be there.  So this very recent phenomena of playing with friends and not being attached to my hip is strange yet oh, so wonderful.  She needs her distance from me, and it has been challenging for me to nudge her away because I feel like I should be with her every waking moment since I work 40 hours a week.  These friendships allow her to see life without me by her side assisting her, and allow her to learn that she can do things on her own and with friends.  It also pushes me to work harder to distance myself from her to allow her to learn and grow.  One regret I have as a parent is that I did (and still do) too much for the kids.  It doesn’t keep me up at night – in the end I know they will be fine and they will know that I love them to infinity and back – but it is something that I would re-think if I did it all again.  They now rely on me for everything (“Mom, will you get me some water…” “Mom, will you find me a shirt to wear?” Mom, will you sleep near me until I go to sleep….”).  And as many times as I try to not do these things, I always end up doing them.  It is a hard habit to break.  So, I am grateful to Maria’s little friends for helping to push her towards more freedom from her momma. 

My girl playing in the sand

That being said, I pray to a higher power that Maria does not cease looking to her momma for love and support and hugs and kisses.  I can’t imagine the day that she looks at me as I lean over to kiss her and snaps “Mom, please stop!”  Those kisses and hugs bring way too much joy to my life to end them already.  There are some days that I long to get home just to squeeze her and Mario in my arms and plant 100 kisses all over their soft baby skin.  The moral of the story is that sometimes adding to the clan can be better – adding Anna this weekend allowed me more time to myself and more time with Mario.  Of course, Mario only wants me around to have a basketball opponent.  I am sure in a couple of years, he will have his boy friends over just like Maria has her girlfriends over, and then I will be staring at the walls as I sit in my dining room wondering what the heck to do with all of the time.  Ahh, I am sure I will figure out something even if it is simply staring at the walls as I sit in my dining room….