Friday, September 19, 2008

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.

19 comments:

camport said...

Great post! And I often wonder how others view me as one of the youngest mothers in the room{usually}.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the pic of Sydney with her hands on her hips, standing on base. How cute is that!

:)

Gin said...

Oh my gosh. That is so cute!

Brown English Muffin said...

OMG I hate sports and here I am at working with a tear rolling down my eye and i'm desperately trying to look up at the ceiling to stop this tear from rolling down any more...and I just can't....this is just touched my heart, it was perfectly written and makes me excited for all I have in store, as the wiser, mellow parent that I'll be! THANK YOU...you've touched me more than you'll ever know!

Kansas Queen said...

I love this post and I am a 39 yr old mom with a 4 yr old so I know about being an old school mom. However, I love every minute of listening to my daughters 1,000 words of what happened during her day and watching her try new things. Tell Gary they need to start a 4th Inning Dance break- similar to 9th Inning stretch. All the kids take off their gloves and dance on the field for 60 secs. That would be fun!

Heather said...

The picture of your older daughter coaching your youngest was awesome! I bet you could make an awesome scrapbook page about that! Have an awesome weekend!

hippochick said...

I still think she'll be a dancer, but isn't it great that they have opportunities to find themselves?

It is really tough being the oldest, isn't it? We do mellow so much as time goes on. I am such a different person than I was even 15 years ago.

Loved this post.

~hippo hugs~
Pam

Cheryl said...

What a great post! I am one of those "oldest Mom's". I know what you mean about seeing things a little bit differently. I love your pics of your baby girl! How sweet she looks!

Laura said...

That's great! I was happy to read that big sis was "coaching". How neat is that?!

I was 32 when I had Alise. I feel like the older mom in her class, too! If the moms even happen to be my age, they are already on to their second -or, God forbid - their third child!! Yikes!

Adrienne said...

What a great post! I promise you "Scout" is the cutest little person ever lol.

Sheila said...

Lovely post and love the pics of Sydney with her sisters. I enjoy reading your posts it causes earlier memories of my daughter to jostle for first place and one will pop up the winner.

My dd (whose 20 now) is taking a piano class this semester and every Monday after class she plays a few keys of what she learned. I start to giggle thinking about when she use to play her toy piano when she was younger and how my perspective over the years has changed from a 20+ mom to 40+ mom...lol

jerseytjej said...

Sydney dancing in the outfield has to be the BEST! As a mom of 50 to a 3 year old...I KNOW what it is like to be the oldest mom in the joint...You are just fine!

Auburn Kat said...

Great post! It's interesting how parents change over the years.

Lynilu said...

I love what your FIL said. It is so easy to compare our children and sometimes lose sight of how wonderfully special and individual they are. I think it is easier to see that when we are more mature parents, too.

Deborah said...

Great post, Cheryl! I'm 44 and my one and only is 6. I'm lucky, some of her best friends have older mothers, too. (Although her kindergarten teacher, while sweet as can be, looks about 16 from this advanced maternal age! LOL!)

Monogram Queen said...

Well... I don't have the different age perspective and i'm the oldest Mom which I hope does'nt cause Madison any undue stress as she gets older ... I do agree with you that I think older Mom's are more mellow and appreciative of things.

I LOVE those pics - too.stinkin'.cute!

Theresa Tyree said...

hey girl! Just checkin' in! Looks like the girls are thriving. I just had carpal tunnel surgery thursday, so forgive any misspellings!! I'm off to read up on what's been going on with you!

Edleen said...

Cheryl, we've been "blog friends" for more than year now and i can truly say, you'll always be Young @ Heart and you're just a Great Mom! :)

Congrats to the team! those photos are great... scrapping them anytime soon? ;)

have a Great Week ahead!

Maria said...

Those pictures are SOOOOO so cute! I love this post! :D

Jenster said...

Love the pictures!! Especially the one of two sisters - coach and player. Very cute!

Great lesson, too!