Lessons from the Soccer Field Lessons from the Soccer Field

Last night my son had soccer practice. It was a gorgeous late summer evening and practice was at a local playground, so we had a wonderful idea...the whole family would go!

And, we would bring bikes for the girls to ride in an empty patch of parking lot...what a rare treat! Mom could push the double stroller with the infant and toddler to get some exercise, Dad could help the girls ride their bikes, and Joseph would enjoy his soccer practice. Perfect!

Of course, without saying, it was a disaster from the beginning. How did we get it so wrong? Everyone had eaten dinner (kind of), the correct people had napped (kind of), and everyone was in a fine mood (kind of). Perfect!

It started off fine. I brought Joseph (4) over to the field. He seemed happy to greet his coach and teammates. I told him that we would be close by and we'd be able to see him. I waved to a couple of other soccer moms, and I felt happy to be at this stage of my life.

Dad got to work getting the bikes out, and I started to set up the double stroller with all the extras (water bottles, snacks, toys, cell phone, etc.). The kids all seemed excited.

And then...Justin (2) realized that one of the two bikes was NOT for him. He was devastated. He absolutely refused to get into the stroller (he usually loves going for walks). I suddenly heard someone crying louder than Justin...impressive!

It was Joseph from the field...he had looked up from practice to wave to us and he couldn't see us (even though we were not far). He was full panic mode. My hugs, apologies, and reassurances were not making it better. Two boys screaming. No kids excited anymore.

My husband decided to help Joseph out by returning to the field with him. This left me with the other four. No more anticipated exercise endorphins for me. Gianna (6)suddenly was done riding her bike because she noticed that Daddy was "coaching" Joseph's team. "Daddy doesn't love me because he doesn't coach MY team." Pouting and storming off. At least I was down to three unexcited kids.

Cecilia (3) had to go...NOW. The bathroom is quite a walk. Off we go for our walk (me, screaming toddler, pouty kindergartener, and a baby who was sick of being in her seat). We walked by the soccer moms who gave me sympathetic looks. I no longer wanted to be a soccer mom.

Once we got back to the field, it miraculously rebounded. As often happens with small children, things changed in an instant (although nothing had changed at all!).

Joseph was thrilled with his daddy coach, baby fell asleep, Gianna and Cecilia starting playing with another little girl, and Justin got to sit on the abandoned bikes with a too-big helmet tilted on his little head...in his glory! I struck up some lovely conversation with the other moms.

I even had a moment of silence. Inside I laughed.

Will I never learn?! The plan that I had for the evening had completely crashed and burned. Yet...by the grace of God...I was sitting in the grass on a beautiful night with exactly what I wanted...a peaceful, fun-filled night surrounded by my beautiful, healthy family enjoying life.

I reflected on life. God has plans for us...yet, how we mess them up! Luckily, He is merciful and allows us to re-route. There are so many lessons for me to learn when things do not go my way. No, I do NOT like learning them. I think they are probably the answers to my prayers though.

I pray to be compassionate to my children (so God give me children who need compassion). I pray to be patient (I have been told this is a huge mistake as God will give us lots of chances to practice patience...but, I never learn!). I pray to let go and let God, so God allows lots and lots and lots of unexpected occurrences in my day so I can let Him take the reigns.

Thanks God, for answering my prayers. And, thank you for a night that ended exactly like I wanted...and for the chance to stretch and grow in ways that I need. Thank you for the gift of motherhood and for this wild ride.

There is a week off between soccer practices. Because we have established that I never learn, we'll probably try this again next week! Joseph will hopefully learn how to play soccer...and I will hopefully learn how to be a better mom.

Copyright 2012 Trish Bolster