Monday, July 1, 2019

One Good Deed

My son can be stubborn about things. He can be rude, temperamental, irrational. He throws fits, rolls his eyes, gets himself in trouble. He can be a real six-year old at times. 

It can get frustrating, these battles. Not giving into his demands and standing up to a tyrant. I often remind him he’s not the boss.

When it comes to parenting, I do a lot of things wrong. I’m aware of that. This blog is more of a journal than a how-to guide. Then again, I do some things right.  And I’m always trying. It’s never a lack of effort that is lacking on my end.

As I’ve posted, he’s big into football. I mean, he's really into football. Every weekend for the past oh, two months now, he’s up and ready, in full football gear, ready to go to hit the field. This is our thing, and it shows no signs of waning. These days he likes to wear the gear: shoulder pads, helmet, he’s even got a mouthpiece. He likes to tuck in his jersey and hit the football field looking like a pro.  

*On a side note, if you’ve never played one-on-one football on a 100-yard field on a late June afternoon in Virginia, consider yourself lucky. Or, if you’re one of those cross fitters, add it to your regiment.

Leaving the gridiron on Saturday, we were sweaty and flushed. I suggested we get an early start on Sunday, being that it was 92 degrees and all. He agreed, so much so that by 9am on Sunday he was fully dressed in a helmet and shoulder pads, mumbling “Dad, are you ready?” through his mouthpiece.
“It was your idea,” my wife reminded me. And it was. So after slugging down two cups of coffee, we hit the high school field ready for action.

It was nice, though. Bright, quiet, the heat not yet taking hold on the day. We did some warm-ups, ran a few drills, then it was all business. After our game, I found myself sprinting a 40-yard dash. Bent over and heaving, Simon encouraged me. “Dad, you run like a teenager.” That was all it took. I found myself lining up and doing it again. I think motivational speaking is in that kid’s future.

After an hour and a half, he still wasn't ready to leave. I was, and this set off a fit. He had no problems letting me know just how unappreciative he was of his parents who’d just dropped everything on a Sunday morning so that he could play football. He wanted to continue kicking field goals. We had chores to do.

So he lashed out. And he got consequences. Later, when he pulled himself together, we went to the pool (because, you know, 92 degrees).

Redemption came at the pool. We were tossing the football when a group of kids wandered over and wanted in on the action. I took turns throwing it to each kid, but when I went to throw it to the youngest boy, maybe four, the others waived him off, “Oh, he can’t throw.”

I tossed the ball back to Simon, dunked myself underwater. When I came up, I saw something I won’t soon forget. My kid approaching the other kids, moving past the older kids and holding the football out to the little boy, the one who, “Couldn’t throw.”

Imagine my surprise, watching my son help this boy put his fingers on the laces, then going through the motions of throwing the football.

The boy tossed the ball to me. I told him he did great. Then I looked at my son, who was beaming with pride. And all I could think was how maybe I am doing something right.