Sunday, March 9, 2014

Softball and High School

Life has been a little, shall we say, full, lately. It's sort of like that feeling when you really need to go to the bathroom, that bloated feeling, and you ought to just go, but, for whatever reason, you can't go do it. So you're uncomfortable, but there's nothing you can do about it. [For me, that feeling is usually in the morning while I'm cooking breakfast. There are eggs on the grill (and you can't just walk away from eggs while they're cooking), more eggs to cook, and I'm trying to get everything done so that people can go where they need to go and, besides, there's someone in the bathroom taking a shower or getting ready or whatever, anyway, and I need to eat, too, but, well, there's that bloated feeling because I need to go to the bathroom, so food is, let's just say, unappealing.]
Yeah, that's life around here, right now.

Softball for my daughter started about a month ago, and she's been having practice three times a week. Two of those nights are weeknights, which is extremely disruptive to the whole cooking dinner thing since, really, it means setting out for softball almost as soon as we get home from school. She already has her accordion lesson on Saturday morning, so Saturdays consist of going to her lesson, getting home, waiting 10 minutes while she changes into her softball gear, and heading back out again. It's a lot of running around.

In the midst of all of this, my younger son has been going through all kinds of high school admissions stuff. That's included special trips to schools to pick up or drop off paperwork, trips to the hospital to pick up immunization records, placement testing, interviews, and auditions. When did getting into high school become such a production? Why do we do this to our kids? I mean, in a general sense. The boy is 13-years-old, and he's being put through the equivalent of trying to get a job. I'm pretty sure it's not the kind of stress a kid should have to go through.

And, through all of this, my older son is never home. They're in the midst of putting on their biennial musical. This time, that's Once Upon a Mattress, a choice that I don't understand. I mean, in comparison to the last two musicals they did (The Producers and Chicago), this one seems rather lightweight. So he's had constant late nights between rehearsals and performances and, well, everything. And, when he gets home, he still has homework to do. Maybe I haven't mentioned how much I hate homework (and all of the latest research shows that homework (other than reading) has a largely negative impact upon students, but I bet we don't do anything about that any time soon). Anyway!

Despite the somewhat frivolous nature of the musical, my son was great! He plays the mute king, so it's a lot of physical comedy, and he has a real gift for that stuff. He was easily one of the best parts of the play. The girl playing Fred was also pretty spectacular. There were moments where I felt like I was watching Carol Burnett (the role of Winnifred was her breakout role back in 1959). In fact, as I'm typing this, he's in the middle of a performance that is supposedly being attended by Tom Smothers who played the part of the mute king in the 2005 Disney version.

Amidst all of this frantic busy-ness, I have still managed to be doing some writing stuff, and I have discovered something. What I have discovered is a discussion for another time. The point, though, is that, sometimes, the chaos causes things to rise to the surface that you might not otherwise see. Not that I want the chaos. I'm quite ready for it to be over. Not that it's going to be over anytime soon. I mean, my daughter's games haven't started, yet, and, when they do, there will be two games per week and two practices, so the schedule isn't going to be getting any easier anytime soon. However, there are still things that can be learned even when things are so busy you can hardly think. And there are still ways you can use your time to be productive even when you hardly have time to breathe. It's all about looking for the openings.


  1. I sympathize--we're heading into spring track season, though this year, my schedule and my daughter's look to be a little more in synch. Hang in there!

  2. And people wonder why we didn't want kids.
    Now granted band practice involved an occasional Saturday and Friday nights were football games, but when I was in high schools, all practices and games were immediately after school. We were done and home by five. When did parents have to start running their kids all over for these things?

  3. Ugh. I remember when The Boy was in baseball and had practices two nights a week: Come home from work, grab Oldest and Middle and throw some food into a backpack and go SIT, for hours and hours and hours, it seemed, two, three nights a week.

    That's part of why I think sports should be divided between kids who want to make a career of it, and kids who just want to play, from an early age. Let kids like The Boy just play baseball once a week and get some pointers from the coach, so he can have fun (he didn't like all the practices and games, either) and let the kids whose parents think they're raising the next Derek Jeter enjoy (?) that life.

    You're right, though, about squeezing in the writing and other stuff. What's hard for me is I like to have a schedule. In the past three weeks or so, it's been changing a bit and I've been having to alter my schedule which honestly I do not always accept very easily, although if I get too crabby I will make it up to people somehow. But sometimes changing your routine can help, as you've pointed out.

    Good for your son, by the way, on the performance. When will post a video of a bit of it?

  4. What kids have to go through these days with school is nuts. Makes me glad I got out when I did.

  5. Reading that makes me want to go hug my mom and apologize for ever being a bratty teenager (not that I ever was one, of course). She had to do all of that kind of stuff for my three siblings and I. All on her own. Yikes.

    I salute your perseverance.

  6. JeffO: Well, I'm just hoping it's by the hands and not the neck.

    Alex: Neither softball nor accordion are through my daughter's school. There aren't any organized sports things offered in elementary school around here.

    Briane: I don't actually mind the sitting once I get there. I use that time for writing and reading. It's all the driving and rushing in between the bouts of sitting that bother me.

    My daughter could conceivably have a shot at softball beyond just a fun thing to do. She has a lot of natural talent and has already been saying that she wants to play on a team in high school, so we're doing our best to give her that opportunity.

    They wouldn't let us take any video this year, because they were filming the performance. I think the DVDs are $20 but, even if we get one, I don't have a clue as to how to post a clip from it.

    Pat: Yeah, no kidding.

    M.J.: My perseverance wants a nap, but it appreciates the salute.

    I was plenty busy when I was in high school, but I managed to get around on my own (even without a driver's license). Which is not to say that my high school son doesn't get around on his own; he does, which is a very good thing, because, if I had to add him into the driving mix, someone wouldn't get somewhere.

  7. I know this level of busy-ness even without having kids, but still, I think I get what you mean about the writing thing. Somehow through the chaos the best writing ideas float to the surface. Maybe it's this jacked up idea that I get the best idea for things to write during a time that I know I blatantly can't write anything, but that seems to always be how it works for me.

  8. All I can say is - glad it's not me doing all this running around. I didn't have kids either, now I think I am very happy about that.

  9. Wow, I never had to apply to high school. Mostly just show up. Ah, public school.

    I'm assuming you're being totally objective about how great your son was (just teasing :).

  10. Oy, I'm not looking forward to advanced school busyness. We actually took off from various sports this school year, because we had gotten ourselves so over-scheduled that it was stressful on everyone. Gabriel will be starting baseball this summer, and my daughter will be in gymnastics, but that's just summer. Not to say they didn't have after school stuff, but when they just stay after for a bit longer it feels less stressful than when we're racing somewhere at dinner time.

  11. ABftS: I keep a notebook with me (or try to) so that I have a semblance of a net for catching those ideas. And so that I can work on various projects away from the computer.

    Jo: I wouldn't trade the kids to get rid of the busy-ness. They are actually worth it. Just don't tell them I said so.

    Jeanne: This is all public school stuff. I don't actually support the idea of private schools in this day and age.
    And, yes, I'm being objective about my son. :P

    Shannon: I think we have ice skating and, maybe, swimming lined up for the summer.

  12. Believe me, sometimes a lighter show is just what a program needs after a couple heavyweights! Glad to hear your boy did well.

  13. TAS: When they only do one musical every other year, I don't think that's an issue.
    But I could be wrong, I suppose.

  14. I would personally have a gym bag for your daughters softball stuff and have her change at one of the locations... save yourself a trip!

    Sounds like the U.S. is taking lessons from Japan. Except kids LIKE studying over here. I have six-year-olds who go to cram schools, music lessons, swimming, etc EVERY day of the week, and they want it that way.

    I'm not sure about the homework bit. Maybe it depends on the type of homework the kids are getting, but HW is absolutely necessary for teaching a foreign language over here, and I'm certain languages and reading aren't the only subjects that would suffer from no homework...

  15. Alex H: The homework bit is based on performance studies. When all homework other than reading was eliminated, students did better in school. When reading was cut, too, they did worse.

  16. At any rate, I certainly understand the busy schedule. Heck, we only have on kid and just her schedule wears me out!

  17. TAS: Sometimes, just thinking about my oldest son's schedule wears me out, but, then, when I was his age, I was actually even more busy than he is now. Ah, youth...

  18. Hmm...this topic sounds so familiar...why it's like a balancing act ;-)
    I've just become able to do all of the above again and yeah, it's a lot, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Youngest will be a freshman next year, oldest a senior. Where did the time go? Trying to savor each moment even if the homemade chicken noodle soup isn't done until 8:30...we still got to eat together. I consider that a victory.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

  19. Tina: My senior is graduating and the middle will be a freshman. I want to just pause them for a while.

  20. I remember those days fondly! Of course, at the time, I was probably stressed out, but I'm conveniently overlooking that! :)

    I just had one, and she did it all, softball, volleyball, cheerleading, swimming, you name it. I can't imagine how you handle three.

    I was so easy on my mom. I did band, but once I got to high school, NOTHING. I got my straight A's but that was it. NON-ATHLETE. NON-PARTICIPATE IN ANYTHING. I have no idea where my daughter got it from!

  21. RG: I worked after school and was very involved in my youth group and worked, also, at my church. There was talk about setting up a room for me there since I spent more time there than at home. Mostly, my parents were uninvolved in my comings and goings.