I went to Little Guy's soccer game on Saturday. I went to Snuggler's game on Sunday. It's tempting, while standing on the sidelines, to compare my kids to the ones who are hungry to win, who run harder and work more intensely than the others. Boy is that a fast way to becoming an unhappy parent!
I was not unhappy. I remembered to compare my kids to themselves. And it made me smile.
A year ago Little Guy stood morosely in the middle of the field, kicking the grass, mad that no one gave him a turn. This year he is running after the ball, occasionally even intersecting with it. He doesn't mind losing nearly as much, because he's playing hard enough to appreciate the game itself. He complains of sore leg muscles afterwards.
Snuggler, too, has improved. She's not afraid of the ball now, and doesn't do the polite girl thing any more of waiting for someone else to have their kick. She runs instead of lopes. She has built up her stamina. She works at keeping her eye on the ball and thinking strategically.
Neither child is a natural athlete. But the more they put into the game, they more they're getting out of it. Which makes me glad that I didn't give into my gut inclination to run screaming from the soccer field each time Little Guy had a meltdown last year. I guess the 'practice makes progress' motto applies to moms, too. I practiced being more quietly determined than I really felt. And -- compared to myself a year ago -- I think I've made progress.