I am not a parent who thinks my kids can do no wrong.
As a matter of fact, I know they often make mistakes, can be incredibly challenging at times, seem to continuously struggle with listening and have undoubtedly led to these premature streaks surfacing in my hair.
However, there are times when they make me so incredibly proud that I become the typical doting parent.
Because of the ups and downs associated with parenting, I try to relish these proud moments, several of which occurred over the last week that have provided me some great memories.
Beckett, 4, is currently in his second outdoor soccer season and I am helping coach this year.
Throughout this season, his interest in the game has been inconsistent. That shouldn’t be surprising considering his age and attention span.
Some games he’s focused on the competitive aspect of the sport, while other days he’s more interested in standing on the back of the net, pinching a baby’s cheeks on the sideline and waving an imaginary sword or wrapping a nearby blanket around his neck in Superman fashion.
Monday night was one of those times when he concentrated on the game, which saw our team outmatched from the opening whistle. There’s no official score being kept, but I can tell you we didn’t score one goal and the other team did too many times to recall.
Since it was a lopsided game, we were rotating players around the field because the ball was always in or near our goal, meaning our offensive players did not see much action. As a matter of fact, the busiest player on the field seemed to be our goalie.
As soon as the first whistle blew, a member of the other team dribbled directly to the goal, slipped by Beckett who took an unfortunate angle at him and scored easily. That caused Beckett to immediately run to me with tears in his eyes, muttering something about how he tried but that “No. 3 was too fast”.
I can be a coddling father at times, but it’s not going to be on the field in the middle of the game. I spoke to him like I would any other player, saying something about shaking it off, learning from it, trying harder next time and having fun.
Earlier in the season, Beckett might not have rebounded well and instead was known to get frustrated and push and shove occasionally to try and get the ball.
That was not the case this week, as he wiped away the tears, kept playing hard and did stop that “too fast” player several times. On one particular occasion after he stole the ball, he turned to me with a huge smile. I was so happy to congratulate him for his perseverance, but the only thing was Beckett stopped playing and the other kid retrieved the ball and scored.
Later, as the goals continued to mount against us, Beckett took a turn in goal. I was worried because I did not know how he would respond to the constant barrage of action. He responded extraordinarily well and kept his chin up the entire time, making several saves that later he tabulated to be exactly “67”.
I don’t know about that, but what I do know is he made one spectacular save to end the game, making me one proud dad.
Somehow none of our players were back on defense and the “too fast” player had a long run toward the goal. It was just him and Beckett.
Rather than wait for the player to come to him and then shoot, Beckett came out of the goal, took advantage of the player’s long dribble and dove on the ball as the game ended.
My son popped up with one of the hugest smiles I can remember and I will never forget it.——————————————-
Although not on the playing field, Carson is providing lasting memories as well, and it has a lot to do with perseverance, too.
With his third birthday looming in two weeks, Carson has yet to find his speech, but he is making us proud with the effort he is showing with his therapists.
Pam usually takes Carson to and from these appointments and she reports to me how he did and what he worked on later.
Well, out of the blue the other night, he started doing this funny thing with his tongue, moving it and out of his mouth and around and around. At first, I thought he was just on the prowl for a laugh, but Pam said it an exercise he has been working on with his therapists.
I don’t recall exactly what it entailed, but it was something about opening the door (mouth), putting out the rug (tongue) and sweeping the porch (moving the tongue around).
I was so impressed with the vigor in which he was doing it that I feel confident things are beginning to click for our little fella.
Along similar lines, while giving him a bath over the weekend, Carson looked like he was trying to say something while pointing at his tooth brush across the room. He was moving his mouth in such a talking fashion that I was certain he was about to speak. I even took out my phone to record him. He continued moving his mouth in that fashion for a few minutes, but nothing was verbalized.
The fact that made me proud was he was trying so hard. His will and desire, or “want to” as a former coach of mine used to say, gives me strength.