Saturday, March 2, 2019

Basketball and Parenting

  This past Wednesday was my daughter Nicole’s last basketball game of the season.  I’m a little sad that it’s over.  I’m going to miss our conversations on the way home - talking about boxing out and the pick and roll.  I was lucky enough to be able to get to almost all of her games.  I only missed one. 

So, why am I sad?

When you have a medically complex child, many times the healthy sibling(s) takes a back seat.  This has happened on more than one occasion and it kills you as a parent to short change your own kid.

For the ten years that Russell has been with us it seems he has dominated many things we do.  Nicole was 2 when Russell was born and even at that very young age she has been a tower of strength.  She has rolled with almost everything that has been thrown her direction.  Her easy going personality and ability to adapt to some very awkward situations has made our job as parents immensely easier.

That is why when we get a chance to do things - just for Nicole - it takes on more importance. 

The second reason why the end of basketball season is a sombre event for me is that way back in the dark ages, I coached Junior High Girls Basketball.  Seeing Nicole play now brought up a lot of very fond memories.  I tried really hard not to go into coaching mode with Nicole to which I was only moderately successful.  Regardless of her basketball skills, what impresses me most is how her personality serves her so well on the basketball court.  She is actually a pretty good shooter and passer.  Passing the ball to a teammate so that they can score is totally in keeping with her personality.

There was one thing that she did during one of her games that I was most proud of and it had nothing to do with basketball.  While Nicole was on the bench one of her teammates got hurt and had to leave the game. The game went on and when I glanced back at the bench where Nicole was sitting I noticed the injured player who was in tears and Nicole with her arm around her. 

When we have kids we have no idea how they will turn out.  Susan and I have tried really hard to enjoy our kids for who they are and at whatever age they were.  It’s easy to think ahead and think how much better it will be when our kids are older and will be more self-sufficient.  Then they get a little older and we start missing some of those earlier days when they may have been a little more work but did so many other things that that made us smile.  And perhaps didn’t talk back quite so much.  I always try to encourage other new parents who might be feeling a little overwhelmed and that may not be getting much sleep to enjoy the moment with their kids.  Those special moments with your kids are fleeting and in a blink of an eye they are gone.  I’m constantly amazed when I observe our kids wandering around the house and wondering…who are these children? And how did they get so huge?  It seems like it was not that long ago that I could carry them around like a football in one arm.  Those days are long gone.

Being a parent is an adventure.  It is never dull.  There are many times that we wish we could get a do-over but unfortunately we can’t.  Tomorrow is another day and we get another opportunity to try to get it right.  Now, I can’t wait for spring so we can get the basketball hoop up in the driveway so we can work on that "lay up."

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