My normal.

I’ve really got nothing.

I open up the “add new post” page several times a day, and I look at the blinking line.

I type.  I erase.  I type some more.  I erase.

Life is clicking along.  We are finding our new happy medium.  Our middle of the road where it feels normal for homework to be done to the sounds of Shannon Curtis and Lenka.  It is normal to jump in the pool right when we walk into the house after the long, sweaty walk up the hill from school – swimsuits optional (meaning we jump in with our clothes, NOT that we are swimming nekkid!).

I’m knee deep in helping plan an upcoming trip to Korea for the big boys on the football team.  I’ve volunteered for two million other things, but you knew I would, right?  You knew my normal in Singapore would not entail bridge club and ladies’ lunches.  Right?

As is normal with me, I am a packrat and am finding that we are living in our new home, again with too many things.  Too much is cluttering our space and I intend to sort that out, straight away.  It’s driving me crazy, and lord knows it is driving poor Levy crazy.

My normal also seems to include a perpetual 3,000 + pictures in my “to do” folder.  What is up with that?  I can’t ever seem to get through the pictures and as much as I wrinkle my nose when I talk about having lived in Delhi, the first several hundred photos in my untouched photo folder are of the last memories and last moments from our time there.  That says something.

Our weekend normal has been soccer and American football (I cringe internally when I have to type American before football, because it just doesn’t seem right that football is soccer.  Soccer, is soccer, right?  We have four games left for football and as weird as it sounds, we are swapping from wearing yellow and cheering Bulldogs to donning the green and cheering Falcons.  (Strange, yes).

Normal means searching 10s of stores in search of size 13 football cleats.  “Ma’am, there are no football cleats on the Island” we were told. Normal means being able to order fresh chicken and pork … delivered to my doorstep for a FRACTION of the price of that saran-wrapped stuff.

It means adjusting to having the Husb home for the weekends only.  Driving on the right side of the car, and the other side of the road. It’s remembering how to function in a house where you are never quite alone, and your helper is an extension of yourself, and always right there.

One of these days, normal will mean writing on a more consistent basis and getting my mojo back, instead of just posting visit and trip accounts.  Normal will also soon mean me sharing what I’m doing to make a difference in Singapore.

Normal is starting to be a more …. normal thing for me.

 

 

 

On soccer and friendship

When we went into the game this morning, I had been telling myself that we were playing to win.

Our boys range in ages from 9 – 11, and while that seems like quite the spread, the reality is : they are all just boys.  The younger 9 year olds are just that, younger.  The older chaps, those in 5th grade are at least a head above the other guys on the field, but this is a non-competitive league.  Right?

One of our boys looms above the rest and if I’m honest with you, his skills do as well.  It doesn’t matter if he’s in the goal or on the field, he commands the ball and the space around him.  When he is absent, the rest of the team groans loudly and the coaches sigh inwardly.

There are those in the middle of the pack that are pretty darn good, but don’t muster up much individual recognition.  They do their part … they try hard (SO SO important!) and definitely contribute to the team.

Rounding out the crew are those who are … quite honestly … simply happy to hold up the sidelines. They don’t care if they have play time, and would rather chit-chat the game away.  Love those boys!

As a mom (my first job) and a soccer coach second, I feel it is my duty to have fair play.  Every boy gets an equal amount of time on the field. Coach’s kid doesn’t get any special treatment … and I keep track during the games of who has sat out which quarter.

BUT.

After three games of losing, and watching these precious boys come off of the field with dejected looks on their faces and sad eyes Saturday after Saturday, I decided it was time to play to win.

That doesn’t mean we tackle inappropriately, kick on the ground or do illegal throw-ins.  It just means that we play those boys in the positions that I know will garner some scoring.

It also means that for those boys who haven’t yet been identified as top contributors to a specific position, they hold the very important job of bench warming.

Remember those boys who were happy to hold their own on the sidelines? Yep, those kiddos.

They stood on the sidelines and provided play-by-play commentary.  They worked out who the goliaths were in the game and who probably didn’t get enough sleep last night based on who was and was NOT hustling for the ball.  They high-fived each other and pointed out the rabbits in the clouds.  They kicked around some dirt and then played a guessing game as to what the end-of-game snack would be.  Donuts? Subway?

I agonized over how to fairly play the kids during the game. I laid out several different options for who would start, who would sub in, etc.  I whispered to my team mom, during the throw-ins and the whistles, “Do you think the parents will be mad at me for not playing them equally?” and “Man, I hope no one gets upset because those two have been in the whole game”

In the end, when we brought them in for the half time snack of oranges and 100Plus drinks, I asked them “boys!?!?!?!?  What did you do WELL during the first half?”

Several of the boys said “We passed great!!” or “our defense was awesome, right?”

Bench Warmer #1 said “we did friendship well, coach.”

The guy that stood back and was happy to watch the dribbling, the passing, the trapping.  The guy that cheered his teammates on and then offered “I’m glad I’m not playing because it is S-W-E-A-T-Y today!” on the sidelines …

At the end of the day, THAT is what this is all about.  A group of boys that come together once a week to practice – sometimes with kids from the “other teams” and then put on their team colors for the weekend games … to learn (1) the game of soccer (2) sportsmanship and (3) friendship.

Even more important than winning a game, more long-lasting then coaching a team to victory, is molding our children into little citizens who understand that “doing friendship well” can take you a LONG ways in life.