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Lessons I felt like my boys weren’t hearing often enough—that they were worth my effort, and embarrassment is temporary, and joy can happen in the midst of epic failures of skill.
My oldest was finishing his basketball season, and at the last practice the parents were invited to join in games.The director that allows me glimpses into my children’s outdoor lives makes sure not to give away too much.I’m allowed a quick impish glance at the camera before the characters run off again—where they’re going and what they’ll do next a mystery.The rule for playing in the snow without me is that I have to be able to still see them through the rectangle without much effort. Within my line of vision is the right distance, where I can bring them back too soon because if I don’t, if I wait too long, I will not have enough energy for pulling off boots and making hot chocolate.Life as a spectator is not bereft of joy, but it is not a participatory kind of joy.The older boy and I would play offense and my guy would play defense and the only goal was for offense to get the ball through the hoop.
Every other parent got the ball to the teenager, and the teenager took a shot.
This time the teenager threw the ball to me, and I actually caught it without a fumble or bobble.
Stunned, I realized I was near enough the hoop that even with my stubby, weak, and unpracticed arms, I might have a shot.
I wish 100 degrees came without sprinklers and snow cones and dusk and lightening bugs and the smell of tomato plants growing so that I didn’t sit inside filled with envy and lost opportunities.
The rectangle of outside life I can see is gorgeously blue and peony pink and sunflower yellow and vibrant green.
It felt silly but I wanted him to remember this effort, this effort to overcome my embarrassment and illness for him at least for a bit.