Small Success: Season’s Over

Thursdays at begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!

We have officially reached the end of the two seasons that sucked the life out of our household routine: sports and theatre. The show closed Sunday, and yesterday was the final soccer practice (an anticlimactic one, since the last game was played Tuesday. But there was a pasta party scheduled, so they practiced. Anything for spaghetti, when you’re a high-school boy.)

Lessons were learned.

  1. Playing a sport at the high-school level and participating in community theatre is going to have an academic impact. Which, of course, we knew, but we didn’t know to what extent.
  2. With a lot of careful advance planning, a home-cooked dinner can be had by all on nearly every evening.
  3. There is no shame in grabbing a drive-thru dinner for your Renaissance Kid when you’re en route to the theatre on a performance night, directly following an away game that’s 45 minutes from home.
I spent almost as much time admiring the fall foliage as I did watching soccer last Thursday! (That’s TheKid in maroon, in the center of the photo).

This week, my success is that we all survived the last week and its 2 soccer games, 4 performances, 1 music rehearsal (that was mine), Mass on Sunday and a set strike after the final show.

Now it’s time to settle in, to vacuum up the dirt left on the floor of my car by the soccer cleats, to make a new menu plan for November that leaves me some wiggle room to cook things that take longer than 25 minutes, to put away the Oxi-Clean and the bucket where I soaked the white home-game uniforms, and to hassle TheKid a little more about studying his algebra.

TheKid is sorry that his seasons are over. Don’t tell him, but I’m not. Sports and theatre are good for kids, but they do have a cost, and that’s measured in more than sports fees and show tickets.

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

Small Success: Summer’s End

Thursdays at begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!

At long last, summer is over and everyone is back in school. TheKid had his high-school orientation day yesterday. They toured the school, got their school-issued tablet PCs, learned about their options for extracurricular activities, had a picnic lunch, went to Mass and had pictures taken.

“Mom, do you REALLY have to take my picture?”

He was out of bed before Barry Gibb got to the part in “Tragedy” where he sounds like he’s being tased (this song is the current musical torture device I’m using to wake him up.)

And he made the bus.

He’s too old to acknowledge my presence at the bus stop.

This is only the second time in 9 years that the bus (provided by the local public-school district) has actually showed up on the first day of school. I didn’t have to call the transportation office and pester them about why there was no bus.

Tuesday he had a soccer game, and I drove 45 minutes to the hosting school only to discover when I got there that their athletic fields are 2 miles away from the school. That wasn’t fun. I have a plan in place now to double-check all soccer-game directions by visiting the host school’s website. And scrolling all the way to the bottom of the very long home page, because that’s where they hide this information.

I don’t know what most parents do about going to their kids’ games. I never made it to too many games or track meets for the older kids, because TheKid was in grade school that dismissed at 3 and he wasn’t home until at least 3:35. We went to the local games and home games, but that was it. They’ll probably complain that it’s not fair that I go to all his games now. Honestly, driving an hour each way to a game (like I’ll do today) and sitting outside for over an hour in 95-degree weather (like I’ll do today) isn’t super high on my list of fun things to do.

But I’m worried (maybe needlessly, but I worry) that TheKid will have a blood-sugar issue during a game, and the coach might not be ready to handle that. The parents’ meeting the other night didn’t help reassure me on this matter–the varsity coach told parents that if our child is injured at a game or practice, he should see the trainer before we take him to a doctor. Well, that’s fine if it’s a home game, but if the game is an hour away (like today’s game) and the trainer is gone by the time the team bus returns to school, I’m not going to wait until after school tomorrow to get the trainer’s opinion on whether my injured child needs medical attention–just because the trainer will “make sure the players get back on the field quickly and doctors make them wait weeks to return.” I feel like we were being told that the athletes’ health is less of a priority than a winning record. Maybe that’s not the case, but that’s how I interpreted it.

So I struggled about deciding to make it a priority to attend the games. Right now, for my own peace of mind, I’ll drive the hour and sit in the heat and be there, checking that glucose-monitor app and just keeping an eye on my kid. Once the game is over and I know that all is well, I’ll leave in my car, because he has to stay and watch the end of the varsity game and then ride the team bus home.

In other news, I have a couple of articles up at CatholicMom this week that you might like:

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Book Notes Goes to Middle School: 7 Riddles to Nowhere

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Intercessory Prayer Gets Behind the Wheel
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Fighting the Fear

What a difference a year makes.

union soccer schoolsLast summer, Little Brother spent a week at a soccer day camp affiliated with the Philadelphia Union pro soccer team.

This summer, he’s doing the same, starting Monday.

Last summer, all I had to worry about each morning was whether he had enough to drink to prevent dehydration.

If this summer were just like last summer, I’d be telling him that he’d be packing his own lunches this year.

But this summer everything is different. This summer there’s an insulin pen and a continuous glucose monitor to think about. This summer I have to pack enough food and Gatorade to keep his blood sugar stable during a very active day, and he has not had a day this active since his diagnosis in November.humalog kwikpen

For me, that’s scary.

I don’t want him to be scared. I’m trying to keep all of that emotion hidden from him. He’s 12. He should be excited and ready to have fun, meet other kids who love soccer as much as he does, and learn skills that will help him play his favorite sport better.

But he’s going to need to take care of himself this week, to check in with the nurses during breaks, to eat and drink enough to fuel the activity and the adrenalin. He’s going to have to be “different.” This camp has nurses, and I’ll meet them on Monday and hand them his care plan, and then I’ll walk away for 7 hours and spend the day wondering if his sugar is dropping.

I’m thankful that the camp is less than ten minutes away from home. But I’m terrified, and I don’t want to let that show.

dexcom g4Those easy camp dropoffs are a thing of the past, and I regret that I ever took them for granted. I feel like we have taken a huge step backward in terms of the independence Little Brother is developing and we are allowing him to have. I want him to be able to do things on his own, but at the same time I can’t help wanting to hover over my kid and the glucose monitor that helps us keep him on the right track–that helps us keep him alive.

I’m not writing this to ask for pity, but I’m not too proud to ask for prayers–for a safe week for Little Brother and for peace for this mother’s heart.




Kid Logic Emeritus

fantaThe other day Little Brother opened a Fanta, and I made the mistake of informing him that Fanta is Pope Benedict’s favorite soda.

I also made the mistake of mentioning that Pope Benedict is called “Pope Emeritus” now that he’s retired. Now he’s fascinated by the term “emeritus,” which he somehow thinks is a term that can only be applied to popes.*

He has just declared that he wants to be a professional soccer player (we knew that) and when he’s a soccer player emeritus, he’ll star in commercials.

Aspirations to the papacy have also been mentioned. I guess that’s for when he’s too old for soccer and the commercials deals run out. “I’m not going to be a pope, because there’s only one, Mom. Get your facts straight.”

That’s a lot of ambition right there. However, his hopes of playing on a national soccer team outside the USA have been dashed by the cold, hard facts:  both TheDad and I were born in New Jersey. We’re not immigrants. “I was kinda hoping Dad was born in Poland….are you sure?”

How does he even know the eligibility rules for national soccer teams?

*See the beauty of Kid Logic? Adults had no idea, before this past February, that “emeritus” could be associated with a pope. Kids, though, just take such things in stride.

A Scathingly Brilliant Idea. Not.

fifa world cup brazilLittle Brother is a soccer fan. This morning he announced, “Mom, the World Cup is going to be in Brazil next year! Can I go?”


I thought his request was funny, so I was telling Middle Sister about it. She replied, “I’d love to go! I’d bring my friend. She speaks Portuguese. And I’ll learn how to ask where the bathroom is. I’m pretty sure it’s almost just like Spanish.”

“Right. The last thing I’m going to do is send the two of you and one other teenager to Brazil.”

Little Brother, for whom Hope Springs Eternal, had a plan. “Wait! Aren’t you and Dad going to celebrate your 25th anniversary soon?”

christ-the-redeemer-statue-brazil“No. It’ll be 23 in January.”

“Oh. Well, I have an idea! You and Dad can go to Brazil on your honeymoon!”

“And I’m guessing that you and Middle Sister would be the chaperones?”

“Well, no. We would go to the soccer game, and you and Dad can go visit that big Jesus on the mountain. I thought of everything! It’s a great plan! What could possibly go wrong?”