With my first pregnancy, I remember plotting for two hours how I might sneak into the back yard and use our chainsaw to cut down a limb that had been bothering me. Thankfully, even in my hormone-drunken stupor, a tiny voice told me that my husband would not be pleased to return home from work and find me perched on a ladder holding a dangerous tool.
The second time around, I had no cravings for destructive machinery, only Heath bars. I did, however, have to force myself to avoid becoming one of those parents who fights at the soccer games of 11-year-olds.
To be fair, I didn’t really want to hurt the dads who were telling the players on their team to foul so hard that they knocked our players over. I just wanted to startle them by tipping their folding chairs back until the dads landed on the ground. Then, I imagined I’d look down at them, wag my finger over my bulging belly and tell them that they should be ashamed of themselves – that is, until I heard that tiny voice of reason again. So, instead, I waddled over to the playground with my toddler, my swollen ankles and my thoughts.
We first put Jessie in soccer a couple of years ago as a way for him to have an outlet for all of that boy energy. Now, in this age bracket, the stakes are higher: The coach talks strategy; the team practices more than just kicking the ball down the field; and the fans sometimes get mouthy when their team is losing. We’ve gotten lessons on what it takes to be a man (or woman) of God on and off the playing field.
The topic comes up a lot at our house, especially now that we’ve added a third son. We talk about doing the right thing, even in tough situations. About standing up for people who need a little help. About being honest and asking for forgiveness. About sticking out your hand and pulling up your opponent when he has fallen – whether you’re winning or losing.
Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t knock those chairs over after all.