Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Should we all get playing time in life?


There’s an old saying, “Don’t try to remove the obstacle from the path, the obstacle is the path”. In other words, focus on the journey, no matter the potholes or rerouting of the GPS. The lesson is in the struggle.

There is truth in this advice, however, the other day I got caught in what I call the parenting muck. This is when I mentally trudge through the tribulations of our kids’ experiences. This particular Thursday my youngest was at his second baseball game of the week and once again he leaned over the dugout wall…observing. Translated into over-parenting terms “observing” means “not playing”.

Game Changer Display

I knew he wasn’t playing because before I left work, I glanced at the Game Changer app on my phone – a magical tool that affords you the chance to watch your kid’s game from anywhere. Simply sign in and wait for your child’s last name to move around a field, court, or rink…or NOT. Think “Where’s Waldo” with a uniform. Since I didn’t see his name on the baseball diamond, I assumed he was the guy warming up the outfielders while humming the line “Put me in coach” from John Fogerty’s song, “Centerfield”.

According to the Game Changer website, their mission is to “Help families elevate the next generation through sports.” Although I love the app to keep track of scores and time remaining…I find as it “elevates the next generation…” it also elevates my blood pressure while I watch names blink on and off the screen, none of whom I carried for nine months, potty trained, or helped with homework last night.

Then I stopped myself. I slammed on my emotional brakes and redirected my focus. I thought about all the days our son comes home from practice raving about hitting the ball in the gap or bunting straight down the third-base line. Or the time the players helped their teammate reach his goal of a 7:30 mile by running alongside him, my son’s hand on his back, keeping his pace up, yelling, “You can do it!”. Those are the times that matter. Would I prefer to see him reap a little game time for his hard work? Of course. Is he still learning, growing, and becoming a better version of himself? Yes. I convinced myself. 

My sideline hustle…

After years of watching my kids play various sports, I’ve learned to TRY not to complain or blame. To scoot away from the drama in the stands, leave the umpires alone, keep calm, and trust the coaches.

My “calm” sideline training began early on. I remember watching my son’s 8U soccer games (the age when kids only cared about the Oreos and Capri Sun at the end of the game). As he zigged and zagged on the field, I hollered his name followed with sage (ha) advice like, “Ruuun!” “Go!” or “Shoot!” much like all the other crazy parents.

Inevitably, a loud shushing would come from my daughter, then nine. She would glance up from her Babysitter’s Club book, glasses perched on her nose, and bellow, “Mama!! Remember the coach said not to yell from the sidelines!” So every game I practiced shushing my outside voice, failed frequently, and eventually mastered the calm.

However, as our kids grew up, sports became a more significant monetary and emotional investment…

When we traveled around the zillion counties in Georgia with the kids and their teams, I noticed when their playing time was lacking, and my Mama Bear instinct appeared as a little devil on my shoulder whispering in my ear, “Why is he not playing? I mean, seriously, how can anyone get better at anything without experience?”

From my spot on the bleachers, I see the same people jog onto the field each game. If they strike out – they get another chance. If they make an error – it’s only one – so they stay on the field. If someone is called out to the field after sitting in the dugout and given their shot to play, they have one chance. One ball to field or hit or throw. The error will look worse with the new player and the strikeout more prominent. There is no redemption because someone else is on the bench waiting for his chance. Experience begets success.

Nonetheless, my default is to keep quiet. Sure I text understanding moms and vent now and then, or mumble prayers, complaints, and a few regrets: if only he had played travel ball since age five, if only I was taller – he would grow faster, if only. He puts in hours of extra work outside of practice and always gives 100%, so he’s due. He’ll have his chance. Of course, my main concern is our son’s morale. Kids are resilient, I’ve heard. But that doesn’t make it any easier for them when they continue to lean over the dugout wall, “observing” and longing to play the sport they love.

What I’ve learned:

Sports are a microcosm of life. Even on the hardest days, we have to work hard to get a job, promotion, or starting position. None of us are guaranteed anything, certainly not “playing” time.

Success will eventually come and for the most part, effort, preparation, and resilience are rewarded. Right now our son is building up his buoyancy and optimism. He is navigating his path and embracing the obstacles…meanwhile, I’m keeping my mouth shut.

Wish me luck.

Thanks for joining me,


Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Diving into a new journey

February 15, 2018, I began sharing this blog during the 40 days of Lent. Each year I would set up my computer on Ash Wednesday and write a story about my day. I did this every day, for forty days until Easter Sunday.

For five years.

Then, forty days would pass and…I stopped writing.

Subsequently, I would fill the other 325 days listening to podcasts like Hidden Brain which taught me about unconscious patterns of thinking and relationships or Ask Lisa Damour whose parenting podcast reminds me I am not the only mom that takes forgotten homework to school or says the wrong thing to their teenager daily. And I read and reread books like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which remind me to tell my story…

“Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked.”  – Anne Lamott

In fact, I’ve always had a passion for writing. At nine, I filled the lines of my diary with trips to Disney and life-changing walks home from school. In middle and high school, I packed numerous pages with poems. During and after college, I chronicled my travels to placid beaches in Mexico and being witness to newborns in India gently held over the smoke of hot coals to promote circulation. Additionally, 21 years ago, when the pink line on the little white stick silently announced motherhood was on deck in my life, I slid my mouse over the word “File”, clicked “New Document”, and 20 years later I pore over hundreds of records of family life — the wild and the wicked.

When the idea of blogging was planted in my head, I loved the thought, but as I typed my stories, the mere inclination of becoming transparent with the world (or my three followers- thanks to mom, dad, and hubby), fear, and apprehension enveloped me.  I asked myself and continue to ask: Why should I share my thoughts? What if I offend or hurt someone inadvertently? Who would want to hear what I have to say? Frankly, I can be a little snarky.  Uh oh, people will hate me!

Putting yourself “out there” is scary. It’s unsettling. It’s a risk…and somehow, concurrently, it is transforming, cathartic, beautiful, and emancipating.

This leads me to right now and a new goal.

Every Sunday morning I will post my stories right here and include links to interesting people or podcasts which I am hopeful will enlighten and entertain you.

I would love for you to join me on this journey through Lent and beyond.

Please send any comments below and thank all of you for subscribing and sticking with me over the years.