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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mom of the Year I am Not

Mom of the Year I am not, but please don't talk about me behind my back. Okay, so that does sound a little paranoid. Still, I know how people are, making comparisons between themselves and those of us parents who are, by nature, less than perfect.

Thursday, like a good mother should, I attended my 12 year-old son's middle school soccer match. His team played like the brainy-acks that they are. They lost. It didn't matter. I sat on the uncomfortable metal bleachers. I yelled. I cheered. I tried to keep up with my three other children who took the opportunity to get into mischief during my distraction. I patted the boys on the back after the game and gave them words of encouragement.

Then I snapped up my son, hustled all the kids to the car, and drove down the interstate like a blue-hair on Quaaludes. We had four more team practices to make that evening and my husband, the coach of two of the squads, kept calling to check my ETA.

In a ten minute break between pick-up/drop-off stints, I pulled out my calendar to check scheduling conflicts for the following day. My heart immediately plummeted like a rock kicked off the cliffs of the Grand Canyon. I forgot to provide drinks after the game for the my oldest son's team. Weeks before, I had promised the team mother I would do it and gushed about how thrilled I was to have the opportunity to support the boys in their athletic efforts. I had written the note to myself in my calendar in bright green.

Later that evening, I apologized to my son. "It's okay," he said. "We had drinks after the game. One of the parents realized there weren't any and bought some at the concession stand." Air whistled past my heart hurtling down toward the canyon crags.

"Who," I wanted to know. But being a boy, and 12, he didn't care or remember who.

My husband comforted me, "No one but the team mom would know it was you that forgot. Call her tomorrow and see if you can take care of drinks for another game." But my self-centered, inner voice, that thinks the eyes of humanity are upon me at all times, especially when I screw up, kept telling me that while I perched in the stands hooting and hollering, the other parents clustered together chattering about my parental deficiencies.

Again, to stop my ruminations, my husband reassured, "They didn't know it was you. They would have reminded you so you could go buy the Gatorade. Get over it."

The next day, Friday, I e-mailed my apology to the coach and asked if he could tell me who supplied the drinks, so I could make things right. It turns out, the team mom, who sat in the bleachers with that group of parents, and with me, noted my omission and rallied assistance from the other adults, but never said a word to me.

My heart splattered on the rocky riverbank of the Colorado. My inner voice rambled on about all my other flaws exposed to the world. And my confidence leaked like melted ice from a cooler drain.

Okay, I know. Mom of the year I am not, but paranoid, maybe.

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