My high school daughter had a soccer game in Antioch - about an hour away. I told her last night that there was no way I was going to be able to go. Her dad was out of town, and her sisters and brother had soccer, track and swim practice. I ALWAYS try to make every game or meet, I just had no way of being able to juggle it all and get there. She said it was fine. She didn't care if I showed up.
I thought about it, and felt bad all day. I made a truckload of calls to get rides for my other kids since those were just practices. I dropped one off on my way and made the long, traffic-filled trek out there.
I knew I only had about 45 minutes to watch before I had to rush back, but I figured that was better than nothing. Traffic was horrific. I was breaking a sweat with every stand still minute I sat in my car. Why the hell were so many people heading to Antioch? My heart was racing as I watched the time on the clock and knew the game started. I still had 30 minutes to go. Why is NO ONE in a hurry?
After a stressful, crazy drive, I finally found the school, but couldn't find any soccer fields. I drove through a private fenced area and somehow ended up on the running track -- while a meet was going on - everyone started screaming at me. I high-tailed it out of there, only to end up in the outfield of a baseball game. Again I got waved out of there.
I finally found a student and he gave me some half-assed directions. After trial and error, I finally found the park entrance. I pulled in and the parking lot was REALLY far away from the fields, but I found a gravel road behind an open fence that said DO NOT ENTER. I knew the clock was ticking, so of course I entered. As I flew down the narrow gravel pathway a cloud of smoke like pigpen followed me. I passed one game, and came upon another field where all the girls were walking toward me. I slowed down, but somehow found myself again on another one of Antioch High School's fields. The group of girls were of course my daughter's team and they were all cracking up looking at me as I'm tooling around in my big fat suburban. I gave them all the peace sign, smiled and just parked the sucker a few feet away. Clearly I missed the first half. After their team talk, my daughter started the second half, played for a few minutes, scored and she was taken out. Then a couple of minutes after that, the ref blew his whistle and it was over. Apparently we won by slaughter rule and the game finished early.
So I drove an hour and a half, watched about 7 total minutes and then had to hurry back to pick up my other kids. Funny enough, I wasn't really mad, I was just glad I got to see even a few minutes. At the end of the game, I thought she might be embarrassed that I drove up on the field, or mad that I went all the way there when apparently all the other parents from our team got the memo that it was going to be a blowout, so not really worth the trip.
Anticipating our meeting after the game, I thought for sure I'd get an eye roll and a - What are you doing here? I told you I didn't care!
But instead, I was surprisingly met with a big smile and she simply said, "I knew you'd show up."
My children will not emerge from their youth unscathed, but if they can come out of it knowing that I'll always show up for them, then I feel like at least I did something right. The moment she said that, I realized that it's not necessarily all the major holidays or big events that make a huge impact. Instead, when it comes to parenting, it's really all the little things that matter.
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