Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Family That Soccers Together, Stays Together

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)!


Aunt Joan said...

Personally, I think that family time is invaluable- when and where ever it is available!! I commend all 7 of you to that dedication!! Life never seems to get simpler, and I think you have a handle on it!! God bless you and Shawn, and those precious children!! Love & kisses!! <3

Justice For DJ Henry said...

Family time is so important...if you instill it now they will always look for it and enjoy it as much of you do. Aidan is just about 12 and he really loves being with his family most of all. I am floored when he picks to hang out with us over his friends but it happens a lot and the sports are great becuase as Jamie ages he can fall back on sports to keep himself out of trouble. This has worked out awesome for Aidan..."No sorry I can't go...I have a game, I have a practice etc, he knows if it's a bad scene he's being invited too to just say that and kids respect sports so no one pushes beyond that. We no longer show up full force because as kids get older the practices get later and Ari just can't handle being up late but in the begining we were just like you...laying the foundation :)