This weekend, our 15-year-old and 12-year-old played two different sports in two different tournaments at two different locations—at the same time.
So my husband and I got to do that time-honored parenting dance where I’d watch one while he cheered on the other, then we’d switch, times forever. We live-texted score updates and highlights (“Great set/spike to win a long rally, 18-14.” “Forehand winner at deuce, up 5-4.”) and tried to have one of us in the stands for each game.
Of course, it’s nearly impossible to catch every minute.
So when I returned to the local tennis complex after one swap, our son was already mid-match. As I squinted to see the score, one of his coaches appeared. “He got stung by a Yellowjacket during warm-ups,” he said, pointing to his forearm. “He’s okay. It hurt a lot, but he’s tough.” Another coach chimed in from a few feet away. “I got him an ice pack. It didn’t swell too much, he’s doing fine.”
I thanked them both and watched the rest of the match. Afterward, I went to check on him—but he’d left the court so quickly I didn’t see where he ended up. “He’s over there,” a teammate gestured to a set of bleachers.
And there he was, sitting next to another mom, right arm extended as she dabbed cream onto the angry sting and covered it with a Band-Aid. “Hey, Mom,” he said, looking up at me, “I’m fine.”
It was a series of such simple gestures—concern, comfort, calamine lotion—but it filled my mom heart right to the top.
Because even though it was just a bee sting, I hadn’t been there for him. My child was hurting, and I wasn’t there.
But so many others who care about him were.
It just proves that when your kids are part of a team, everyone involved becomes part of a team too.
You cheer on each other’s children when they succeed and when they fail. You text updates to parents who can’t make it to the game and share photos on the group text. Coaches learn personality quirks and how to motivate each player. There are countless moving parts and personalities, but somehow it all comes together to form a true community.
Sure, the primary purpose of any team is about sports and practice and competition.
But the fringe benefit—watching other people love your children?
That’s pretty hard to beat.