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I’m not a good mom. I don’t know that sign ups for stuff are seven calendar years before the stuff actually happens. I operate like this: I smell mud on the ground–I think about baseball season. The chill is still slightly in the air, but my shoe makes tread marks when I walk across unseeded grass. Spring training’s near. A few degrees warmer, track season. Then cycling.

The end of summer is nearing. I’ve grilled the fake hotdogs and veggie burgers for some time now, drank my iced tea from mason jars, enjoyed the peace of watching “helicopter bee,” bumble around the yard. Leaves will rustle soon. Football and soccer season are approaching.

The holidays aren’t yet here, but I’m busy sewing up Declan’s Halloween costume, about which he’ll change his mind when I’m nearly done, and the “who’s going where for Thanksgiving” question’s been asked, still hanging out there somewhere unanswered. Basketball season. And Cub Scouts is somewhere in between, I guess.

I started thinking about sign ups when Declan entered kindergarten. Invariably, I’m an awful mom and miss every one. He’s in first grade now, and I know I need to sign him up for something. It’s what Moms do. Sign their kids up for tons of stuff then put the commensurate decals all over their vehicles so they can’t see out the rear-view mirror. Soccer, piano, horseback riding, swim…

Decals are where I draw the line. Perhaps it’s why my subconscious keeps missing sign ups–because I don’t want outlines of little kids tossing balls or “Proud Soccer Mom” all over my car. You’ll know I’m proud because I’ll be standing there smiling when my kid walks off the court or field crying about something because he hasn’t been sport-Spartan trained since he was two.

He just learned to tell his balls apart. The fact that you kick soccer balls never basketballs, and baseballs and softballs are not the same thing. I had to actively teach this when I realized he’d entered school and couldn’t tell the sports apart. I knew Yankee stats by the time I was five. I could count retired jerseys in numerical order. By contrast, my son, until recently, kept shouting “touchdown!” when I hit the ball over his head, and “strike three!” when I miss his wild throws playing catch.

But he’s ready now. We’ve been playing whiffle ball. He knows what a home run is, and when we play catch, he doesn’t demand I walk the ball back to him instead of throwing it. “Mommy, I’ll get hurt if you throw it, was handing the ball to me politely so hard?” What the heck is this? We’ve got more training to do…

The day finally came about a week or two ago. “This is fun. Mommy, can you sign me up for baseball?” It’s the end of April. The Yankees are already playing. No, I cannot.

“Sure, next year. We have to do it pretty early…Next is summer camp,” if I find the flier, “and then, if you want, you can try soccer…”


“You already signed me up for basketball, Mommy.” Yes, I did. He cried and walked off the court, then, in the “everybody plays” league, they “forgot” to assign him to a team. He’s still waiting for his call.

My friend’s kids are Declan’s age. They’ve been playing soccer since they could walk and they ride motor bikes now. That’s Declan’s competition. We’re still working on bikes with training wheels. And that’s okay. We’re having fun.

“Can I be a Cub Scout?” he asked.

“Sure.” If I can only find the flier… “You can try anything you want.”

One thing at a time, though. I will not be running from thing to thing to thing. And I will not put a decal on my car, even if he makes the Little League World Series. But I doubt he will watching him throw whiffle balls around the yard.

That’s okay. I’ll be proud anyway.

But now, since we didn’t sign him up for baseball, we get one more season of rest.




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