As I have stated in other posts, spring months and sunny (and a lot of rainy!) weather brings spring travel soccer. As Shawn commented to me a couple of weeks ago, “I never thought we would be that family who drives 180 minutes roundtrip for a 45-minute game involving a bunch of 9-year olds.” But, yes, we have become that family. The kids are involved in other activities, but soccer does seem to consume the majority of our family time together.
Family friends are celebrating their daughter’s fifth birthday this weekend. However, Jamie is already committed to a two-day soccer tournament, and it came down to the option that if we wanted to do both, our family would have to split up. During the week, there is a lot of running around (and splitting up) to be sure that all the kids get to their activities, homework is done, and at least the younger children have a decent bedtime. So when the weekend rolls around, we try not to split up unless necessary and we spend the weekend as a family. After a particularly crazy week (Jamie’s school play week), Shawn and I decided that we would decline the birthday party invitation rather than dividing up all day on Saturday. My friend was very generous in her understanding and, when I explained about not wanting to split up and do separate activities on Saturday, commented, “I don't blame you for not wanting to split up events--it's a slippery slope!”
It is a slippery slope and who knows where the bottom is. We strive to eat dinner together every night as a family – which is very hard during soccer season. There are many afternoons when I find myself making sandwiches once again and loading up the cooler before I embark on the afternoon pick-up run. From school dismissal, we head to hippotherapy or speech therapy, and then straight to the soccer fields. We are usually the only family who comes in full force (and I do mean full force!). Maybe we seem slightly odd to the other parents, but this is one way in which we can be together as a family during a busy week. We eat our simple picnic dinner, Jamie does his practice, the other kids run around and play, and Shawn and I usually begin a heated Scrabble game on the iPhone (which six weeks later, I have yet to win one game).
As the kids get older, I know it will only get harder to find that quality time together as a family. But that just means we will have to become more creative. Maybe we’ll always be the only family who eats dinner together at the soccer field three nights a week. We just may look a little weirder when the kids are teenagers (but maybe I’ll have perfected my Scrabble game by then)!