Please allow me to paint a picture for you……
A somewhat crisp, early afternoon on a late summer day….
Children gather all over Evan’s Field in Rockport, families in tow, with a rainbow of colors representing the various teams that make up our little Rockport Youth Soccer League. Couldn’t be sweater, really.
The boys and I took Marlin, our German Shorthaired Pointer, to Finn’s early morning Kick Start Soccer Program and let him sniff the other dogs and then have a good romp around the field once the youngest players had scattered. We took a stroll down the dirt road and waved to the horses grazing in the field.
With just enough time to get home, regroup, and grab our bikes….we were off for Game #2. The boys are new to riding their bikes across town. I’m not going to lie, I slightly panic that Finn is going to swerve, fall off the curb accidentally, and get struck by a car. I’m trying to be less nervous…and they LOVE riding down South Street, through town, up Broadway, past the train tracks, and to the ball field. So, we do it.
Thatcher is a hockey player first and foremost, but he’s been loving soccer so far this season too. He has a fantastic coach and is a totally different player than he was just one year ago. I was just settling in after getting Finn a snack and watching him wander up the hill to pat a super cute puppy. I was enjoying a bit of a “my boys are pretty awesome….and things are getting easier as they’re growing up a bit” moment.
And then, Thatcher and another kid collided. Thatcher tripped, totally fine, but was on the ground fumbling with his cleat that had fallen off. The other child was also fine…and kindly took a second to turn around to check on Thatcher. As I was thinking, “That’s sweet….good job….way to check out the other player” my thoughts were quickly interrupted.
The grandmother of the other player shouted, “Don’t look back to see if he’s ok. Who cares.” I was flabbergasted. My first though was, “He’s fine, your kid isn’t that tough.” My second was, “Shame on you, lady.”
Seriously….shame on her.
I don’t really straddle the fence of Helicopter Parentville. I’m, as many people can attest, a pretty tough parent. I expect my boys to be polite, I don’t tolerate too much crappy behavior, and I offer up plenty of constructive criticism. I love them more than I ever knew humanly possible, but I don’t sugarcoat, and I expect them to be accountable and good kids.
While I wan’t compelled for even a second to run down and check on Thatcher….because A) he was fine and B) it is more my nature to let the coach assess the situation and summon me if necessary… I was still horrified by her “Who Cares” assertion. I mean, really. Who cares? Is that really what any of us want to teach our children. That is exactly the type of response I hope that my boys NEVER have as they continue to grow and live their lives. I hope that they always care.
As a parent, as a teacher, and as someone who hopes my kids are, above anything else kind, sympathetic, and compassionate to their friends, their classmates, their teammates, and even strangers, I was sad.
What did I do, you may ask. Not much. I’ve been regretting my lack of reaction all weekend. I simply looked over my shoulder, made eye contact with the mother of the child, and said, “Wow.”