A Bitter Price

I never bought into this because I never had money to buy into it. Scratch that. I never had enough money to buy into this and think for one moment I was going to be one of those sports moms, that we were going to be one of those sports families whose entire lives revolve around kids’ sports, leaving no time or money for travel. 

I never bought into this because I often come home with over an hour of work to finish, three kids to drive around and feed, and a house to maintain. And after a pathetic failure of wrangling teenage minds all day and losing every last planning period (and lunch) to meetings. Going to a sporting event on a Thursday night, are you KIDDING ME?

But look how beautiful she is, all decked out, hair up, makeup on, ready to… sit on the sidelines… because I never bought into this, and fifteen is a little late to start a sport. 

I never bought into this because I am wholly unprepared, on a Tuesday morning, to read a ten-page-long email from her coach asking for parents to sign up for and prepare a huge potluck for judges and coaches for THIS THURSDAY’S meet. And for parents to buy items for and run a concession stand. And to bring in a giant vat of hot coffee, its creamers, its sugars, its… mess. And to bring in drinks and coolers full of ice for the athletes. And to provide snacks. And to help set up starting at noon and ending at three-thirty. And … to be respectful and responsible and commit to all of these things, the hospitality room–separate from the competition room–in particular, if our daughters aren’t competing. 

It stings in so many ways. One, because the majority of the girls on this team are surrounded by wealth and have stay-at-home mothers who could cook up a pot of homemade chili on a Thursday morning. Two, because why the FUCK does it take three and a half hours to set up a gymnastics meet, and would the boys ever have to set up their football field? Three, because I have no flexibility or time in my job (screw summers off), and school years run me ragged by mid-September. Four, because she fought me tooth and nail not to do this, and I made her do it, and she has learned to love it and is even willing to choose it over cheerleading, but she may just be a dressed-out cheerleader anyway, and I won’t even get to watch her friends compete.

Five: because it’s just another example, like her awful letter to me, of my failure as her parent. 

“Do you wish you’d stuck with gymnastics when you were little?”

“Yes. So much.”

Do you wish you were born into another family?

Yes. So much.

Do you wish you weren’t the oldest?

Yes. So much. 

Do you wish you had a different mother?

Yes. So much. 

I never bought into this because I wanted us to do things that we could all do together. Go on hikes. Go camping. Ride our bikes. Go to the park. Participate in Girl Scouts. Read books. Travel to all the states and two handfuls of countries. Have dinner in the same place, same time, with all five of us, every day. 

I never bought into this… and now I’m paying the bitter price of bowing down to a last-minute email, joining Costco on a Wednesday night so I can stock up on concessions, and running a hospitality room for people who would never be hospitable to me.

I never bought into this, and now I’m paying the bitter price of her resentment, her remorse, her eagerness to be anywhere but near me. 

I never bought into this because I didn’t think I could afford to pay the price. 

But now I’m paying anyway. 

2 thoughts on “A Bitter Price

  1. I did gymnastics as a kid and into high school. I doubt I appreciated it at the time the commitment my mom was making to helping me succeed in gymnastics and other sports. I often give her lots of thanks for all the sacrifices she (and my dad) made when I was a kid and teenager. Point is, some day she will thank you, though I can’t imagine how difficult the thankless days are right now.

    • Thank you for this message. It’s been a challenging month! She is a very challenging child. 🙂 I hope she does appreciate it.

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