The hubs and I had dinner with some old friends of his recently. The guy is retired from the military and involved in all sorts of exciting pursuits, from going back to school to taking cooking classes, which he enthusiastically told us all about. His wife seemed so supportive and thrilled for him. I don’t think I’m that kind of wife. I’m more the “what do you MEAN you’re doing something during my yoga class, the one day of the week I actually have time to myself?!” kind of wife. Not so much beaming as glowering. I’m working on it.
It’s just that TIME is in such short supply once you have kids. No parent intends to abandon their dreams, I don’t think. It happens gradually, in an I-don’t-have-time-for-hobbies-anymore sort of way. Oil painting, running marathons, making elaborate craft projects – no way. Sleep takes precedence over following your passions, or at least it did in my case. And then when the kids get older, it’s all about THEIR interests, THEIR activities. How else do you explain grown people clapping and singing along to nursery rhymes in their socks in a toddler gym class?!
So it was an unusual feeling when my sons and I found ourselves on the sidelines of my husband’s baseball game one Sunday morning. I was used to seeing him in his role as Little League coach, soothing kids after strike-outs and yelling at them to stand up in the outfield. (That’s our boy, picking daisies and his nose in right field!) As the dad who said, every time we visited his hometown, “Look, guys, that’s the field where I played baseball when I was a kid.” But then, 20 years later, he’d gotten called up to the majors. And by majors, I mean the adult recreational league in our town.
He was in heaven. In the days before the game, he took the boys to the sporting goods store and the batting cages. He broke out his glove and broke in his cleats. He was ready. As the boys and I sat in the shade on the sidelines, I could see it in his stance. He was in his element. I was impressed. Proud. And his butt did look pretty cute in those baseball pants, I have to say.
“That’s my dad,” said my son in an 8yo’s braggy tone to another boy watching the game. “His is the best team in the league.”
“Daddy! Daddy! Are you next?” yelled my 5yo every 2 minutes as we waited for my husband to bat. “Do they have snacks, Mom?” No, buddy, no juice boxes and granola bars here. These guys play simply for the love of the game. Remember what that’s like? Me either.
Watching my husband out there, I felt happy. For him, getting to play a game he loved. For our boys, getting to see their dad doing something just for him. And for me, getting to see him in the unfamiliar role of a regular person again, not just a dad and husband. Remember what that’s like? I actually kind of do. (I got a taste of it recently, following one of MY dreams.)
Because this is our life and not a Kevin Costner movie, the pleasant morning was shattered by an ear-splitting shriek when my 5yo got stung by a wasp. (Yes, THAT son. The one who got bitten by a dog and stung by a jellyfish already this summer.) Luckily, there were a couple of doctors on the team who got him fixed up with some ice and a Band-Aid.
Following your dreams is a little trickier when you’re a parent. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.