I'm Now the "Old" (i.e., "Mellow") Mom...and that's a very good thing!
With such a disparity in ages among our daughters--they are 16, 12, and 4--I've often pondered how I have changed as a parent over the years. It's quite different to be a new mom at 23; and then to become a "more mature" new mom all over again at 36.
I laugh with friends of mine and say that I was that hip young Mom when I was taking McKenna to kindergarten; when I was parenting a young Delaney, I was the "normal" age that most of the other parents tended to be; and now with Sydney, I find that I am usually the oldest Mom in the bunch. It really tends to change your perspective on things, when you look at the mothers around you and think, "they are just babies really" (kind of like how I feel when I see teenagers driving cars and think that they surely can't be older than 13!).
Parenting Sydney doesn't just give me a different perspective on parenthood, though...it really makes me ponder how I look at my own children. And how I looked at them at their same, respective ages.
Take, for instance, this whole new experience of having Sydney play softball.
Delaney played softball from the time she was 4, the same age that Sydney is now. Although Delaney came home crying after her first practice (it was raining and cold, in early March), she was ready to go the next night and absolutely never looked back. That first year, she played outfield and yet she was the most observant 4-year-old outfielder I'd ever seen. I'd look at the parents of the other outfielders--those little girls who'd dig in the dirt, or do ballerina dances, or swat at butterflies, and think, "They need to look at Delaney and see how she's paying attention. They need to get their girl's head in the game."
Gary was the head coach the second year that Delaney played and by then she'd graduated to the infield. She was a natural and Gary became a really fun, yet intense coach; he taught them how to make "real" plays in the field; and he'd get discouraged when a parent wasn't practicing with their child in their spare time or when a child seemed more interested in getting nachos from the concession stand than batting well; or, god forbid, when a child had to run to the bathroom as soon as they got into their fielding position.
It's really funny how time changes things.
This week has been Sydney's first week of softball games at our local girls park. It is a fall instructional league (they are learning the rules, getting them ready to play in the "real" season this upcoming spring) and Gary is her head coach.
I have found myself just as excited seeing Sydney out there playing, but for different reasons from when Delaney played.
All I really want is for Sydney to have fun; and I want to hug her when she cries after she's struck out (she did that the first night and it just about broke my heart!); and, to tell the truth, if her team loses it's not the end of the world (like I sometimes felt it was with Delaney's team).
Now, granted, her team won their first game of the season last night 21-14 and Gary was extremely excited and proud of them (I'm still trying to decide if he can go back to coaching 4 through 6-year-olds, when he's used to helping 12-year-old travel ball players)...but winning it wasn't the best part of it all.
The best parts this week were having big sister, Delaney, coach first base...
And then having big sister, McKenna, coach first base for the second game and then have to run with Sydney on a "potty break" (and I wasn't even amazed that Scout's Mom didn't take her before the game started! LOL)...
And watching Sydney and another outfielder have a "grass fight" during the game...
And watching Sydney dance in the outfield...
And watching her hit the ball, then get on base, and score...
And watching her celebrate and have fun with her teammates...
And then watching her get just as excited after the game about cheese fries, as about the fact that they won (Although she was jumping up and down, chanting, "We won! We won! We won!" Maybe there is some chance she'll be as competitive as the rest of us in the family!).
In a strange way, it was kind of like I have become the Mom that the other Moms on the team now think is kind of "out of it." Sure, I'm over there yelling loudly...but I'm also smiling and laughing when a girl runs to third base instead of first (she's four, and she doesn't know any better!).
I think I may have it in better perspective now...I smiled when Scout had to run to the bathroom during the game...and I hugged her after the game and told her how great she did, without even trying to give her hitting suggestions...and I sincerely considered bribing her with a ring pop if she stopped a ball before it got into the outfield (I would have never bribed Delaney; she had to "do well because she wanted to do well")...and I understood when Sydney said she was tired, because that's how four-year-olds are supposed to feel.
The two games this week also made me relish the sweet memories I have of McKenna and Delaney both at that age. And it made me glad that I still have a young one around to make more memories with.
During the game, I was talking to my father-in-law about how it seemed impossible that Sydney was old enough to be playing ball. And that I wasn't sure if she was going to be a ballplayer like her sister (she still wants to dance too!). And he made some sort of comment that, "She might never be like Delaney. But she's having fun. And that's what's important."
So, so true!
And I'm glad that now I'm old enough (and mellower, and wiser, and more in-tune!) to appreciate that truth.