My soon-to-be fourth grader reads at an eighth-grade level, which is a simultaneous blessing and curse.
This past spring, Mini Me brought home a flier advertising soccer camp. I used to be able hide these multicolored sheets before she saw them. I miss those days sometimes.
“I’d like to go,” she said after reading every word aloud.
In her entire nine-year existence, I don’t remember Mini Me ever saying the word soccer, much less expressing interest in the sport.
Camp ran from 6 – 7:30 p.m. for four days at the end of June. It was $20, and participants got a Tshirt. That all sounded good. The bad news was my work day ended at 5:30 p.m. Factor in a couple of traffic jams and pickups at two separate childcare facilities, and that meant we couldn’t get to camp before 6:45. Hubby was on the road during that time, so soccer camp was a no-go. I delivered the bad news.
Mini Me burst into tears before I could finish the sentence.
“I just want to know how to play,” she wailed. “Whenever we play soccer in gym class, my team loses because of me. I can only kick the ball a couple of inches.” She fell onto my bed and upped the volume on her cries.
I immediately felt guilty. I knew she was overstating things. I didn’t believe for a second anyone in her class could bend it like Beckham. But this seemed important to her, and I couldn’t deliver. I don’t think it’s the job of a parent to give kids everything they want, but Mom Guilt can be very strong. It’s the sinking feeling that you somehow are failing your children and causing irreparable damage to their fragile psyches.
I couldn’t shake the guilt this time, so I figured it out. My dad had reduced summer hours at work, and he agreed to pick up Lil Ma from daycare. I left my job early those four days and got Mini Me to camp on time. She enjoyed the experience but thankfully decided she doesn’t want to join a league. She did, however, did ask for a soccer ball so she play in the yard with her sister. I told her to save her allowance.