Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Joys of Parenting: Getting Sports, a Milestone, and Lessons to Learn

Today was Will-J's first tennis lesson:


He did fine - he moseyed in, did what the instructors told him to do, was reasonably focused, and even made a few friends with the returning kids.  He was an average six-year-old beginning tennis kid out there on the extremely well-maintained grounds of the Gates Tennis Center.  It didn't look like much.  But I was over on the sideline just ecstatic - my boy is growing up, and has changed so much in the last few months.

See, here at Heavy Hiking we're having a quiet milestone.  Last June, Will-J and I got on a plane to Switzerland, knowing we had to take four trains and a bus across the country to meet up with Catherine, but not really knowing what would happen when we got there (or really how to even find her and/or get into the place we were staying).  It was the first day of her sabbatical work, and as I wrote then, it was a "change of pace."  Now, that pace is over, and we're changing again (or, more properly, changing back).  On Monday, Will-J enters first grade, and the sabbatical "plan" (to the extent we had one) is over.  (One other, even bigger, thing is over, too, but I don't know how, or if, I'll write about that here).    

While my memory is fading into blue skies and snow-capped peaks, Will-J really was a terror those few weeks in Switzerland.  He was jet-lagged, frustrated with the language barrier(s), and constantly overheated.  He pushed.  He threw tantrums.  Sports were difficult, and this continued through the year.  Even a few months ago, he would have to sit out a few times each soccer practice for fighting or testing the coach.

Then, in May, something clicked.  He grew up, was getting good help from his teacher, and maybe his parents finally learned some of the right ways to encourage him.  He was good at school.  He was social.  He could play sports.  In sum, we've come a long way from the Pak'n Save in a very short time.

Now, he's a regular kid  - he mobs around in soccer with the other kids all chasing the ball.  He even has a breakaway or two.  I feel bad for him that he inherited my terrible combination of slow, slow twitch muscles and large frame - he lopes around the field a step behind the fast kids, but of course never gets tired.

Until he does:

 
Tennis today was hot and sunny, and running around with new friends gets tiring.

There's always so much to learn.  This evening, he insisted on taking his new dinosaur tooth (from Dinosaur Ridge) to the park.  He wanted to show it to all the kids.  Of course the tooth got thrown, there were a lot of kids passing it around, it was in the wood chips for a minute, and maybe it's still there or maybe it's in some kid's pocket now.  He cried, and I was trying to figure out the best way to explain to him that maybe wasn't the best idea to start passing around the dinosaur tooth (obvious answer: tell him we'll go back out there and get a new one).

I don't know what the next year-and-change will bring - the last one was certainly eventful.  I do know that it will be a good time for Will-J, and really that's all that matters.  

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