Coming out of swim lessons, a man commented on how three boys means 3 sets of games to attend, 3 of this, 3 of that. He asked how old they were and if any of them were playing sports. I told him their ages and how we only had swim lessons. He was shocked! The horror! Not even the 5 year old! Didn’t I know that this was the time to start otherwise he’ll be so far behind he’ll never catch up?
Apparently, I’ve ruined him for life! I mean, now he’ll never lay for the Yankees, plus, he hasn’t begun studying the SAT vocab list…which means he’ll never get into college…which means he’ll live at home forever in our basement eating cheetos and bemoaning how his mother failed him. Just kidding, we don’t have a basement.
I did ask Diego if he’d like to play baseball on a team with other kids and a coach. He responded, “Maybe later.”
The man’s concern for my lack of concern made me reflect on the kind of childhood I’m giving my boys. As I type this, Diego is narrating a story set on a space station playset, which he’s re-imagined to be a tree fort using bugs and action figures as his characters. Justus is exploring the toy kitchen with an action figure, while singing “Let it Go” from the movie, Frozen. And Isaac is off in search of the perfect “guys” to play with, determinedly scouring every single bin until all the desired action figures are found.
So…they are learning independence and how to use their imagination. They are relaxed and happy. They’re learning to entertain themselves rather than expect to be entertained night and day, as well as taking pride in their own discoveries. Every once in a while, they even join forces to share the toys with each other and appreciate the camaraderie of being brothers and friends. And, they’re learning conflict and resolution, expectations and consequences. But most of all, they are being kids. And that makes me happy.
I’ve always been a homebody on the shy side. Throughout my life I’ve tried many new things, been part of sports teams and drama productions, most of which were not things I started when I was 5. And I’m very grateful for loving and supportive parents who waited until I was ready and wanted to try.
I want the boys to try things: baseball and fencing, music and drama, whatever! But I’d like them to be ready to want to try it. And when I think of all the pressures and busyness that awaits them as they get older, I want them to enjoy this freedom to be a kid. And I think there’s plenty of time for them to start something new and try many different things. Soon enough, they’ll be in school and will be ready to try different things and I’ll juggle the busy schedules of 3 boys.
But for now, to the man who we saw after swim lessons, thank you for your concern, but “maybe later.”