Huey Lewis is asking “if this is it.” And I’m wondering the same. Frankly, when I was listening to this song the first time on my boom box in my bedroom in 1985, I did not think I would coach a soccer team that would lose players due to the team not being challenging enough. Hell, I’m not sure I even knew about soccer in 1985.
Later when I’m relaying this weird drama to my husband, he mentions that this isn’t even on his radar. I get that. There’s a backhoe in our driveway for fixing a long-neglected drainage issue. The project looks big and very expensive. We eat in silence, the kids chatter about their day, soccer tryouts and scoring, and I catch him staring outside. I wonder if Huey Lewis is playing in his mind. When he was little in 1985, did he think he’d eat hotdogs on a Wednesday wondering if the most recent project was more than we could handle? Is this it? In my kitchen, I stare at my kids as we move to the next phase of the evening.
The next phase of the evening can easily be referred to as “Roundup.” Everyone is in motion. Lunch boxes are checked and loaded for the next day. Dinner dishes are cleared and cleaned. Coffee is made. Our animals are checked for food and water. Lastly the kids get their PJs on. This should be a calm time. And I’ve seen pictures on the Internet and suggestions on Pinterest that tell me my kids should be reading a book, calmly. I have never been able to accomplish a calm evening. Even when they were babies, it was a loud process, always ending in tears. At least now they can dress themselves.
I take the dog out for her last walk of the evening while I’m still stuck on the soccer issue. I made promises to my younger self about how motherhood was going to look. A large part of those promises included not getting wrapped up in my children’s successes as though it was me living through them. I can see now how that is so easy. I see it all around me every day. Hell yes, I want my kids to be successful and awesome. However, it has to come from them. Not me. They have to want it; the biggest hurdle so far in parenting is how to show my children that desire comes from within, not external expectations. On a side note, eight years ago I would have told you that potty training, breastfeeding and sleep training were the biggest hurdles. So, you know, perspective is everything. Finishing up our walk (which was frankly to the backyard and back), I have an image of my daughter playing soccer and smiling like she’s on camera. The entire game. Our team loses, but she’s still smiling. Just last week, on the way home, she asked if she could play with her cousins. As I enter the house, this reminds me that I might actually be achieving what I set out to do.
Meaning, maybe when I was listening to Huey Lewis in 1985 in my purple bedroom, I was actually thinking of this day, this night and soccer drama. Maybe the details were not clear but the intention was. I’m pretty sure if I was able to get my twins to sleep through the night (I use that term loosely), I can also get over this next hurdle, which many refer to as the middle. Some days it’s messier than others, but it’s definitely the middle. The groundwork you laid for the last several years comes into play, kind of a precursor to the teen years, where the groundwork had better be solid. Now you can tweak, adjust as you go.
Back in the house, I’m abruptly reminded that this is, in fact, it. In my five minute absence, a large fight escalated to the normal yelling, crying and pinching. I trudge up the stairs, listening to the hum of the shower where my husband is pretending he cannot hear anything. The dog takes a beloved stuffed animal and hides it. Screaming ensues. I tuck everyone into bed (also, remaking my 7-year-old’s bed as I do every night). Kisses all around, and then I head back downstairs, grab my phone and a glass of pinot. I settle in, trying to relax. I’m going to bed soon, but not before my husband and I place bets on which child will not be able to sleep tonight and which one has homework that was overlooked. We will also recap the day, and make our plans for the next day. And if we’re feeling really adventurous, we’ll talk a little about the future, our plans, a dream or two and maybe a new goal. And that’s how I know I have the answer to Huey Lewis’s question.