Today, I finally found a comfortable mental space from which to watch the Kaiser (not) play soccer. It only took me the entire two-month-long season to figure it out. I’m not terribly competitive. I like to be good, but I don’t have to be the best. And yet, watching my four-year old play soccer has been…. excruciating. If I’m type B, he’s type X.
It’s what I perceived as laziness that made me absolutely insane.
“Cole, you gotta at least try.”
“Dude, why won’t you run?”
“Don’t you want to kick the ball?”
“Well, you did pretty well, but let’s try to actually, like, move next time.”
As I watched him, though, throughout the last few months, I realize that while he’s kinda lazy (it is what it is), he’s also simply uninterested. He’s four and he’s a gentle, cerebral kid. He was accidentally pushed down in a game and came to me.
“I don’t want to be tough, Mommy.”
What the fuck do you say to that? I don’t particularly want him to be tough, but neither do I want him to be left out, taken advantage of, or hurt. It’s a fine line. And as I sipped my latte and watched him somersault and pick flowers on the field, I began to let go.
It doesn’t matter if he’s good. It doesn’t matter if he likes soccer. It doesn’t matter that he’s never going to win a Best Defender Award. It’s cool that he’d rather sit on the sideline with me, clutching his stuffed dog and singing old Guster songs.
When I stopped cheering (read: yelling madly and pointing toward the goal) and let go of my expectations, I was blessed with the utter joy of watching a really cool kid do some really funny shit. My lesson, then, is to live like the Kaiser plays soccer: realize it’s ok to be last, take frequent breaks, look forward to snack time, and don’t take anything too seriously.