By: Talyn Terzian-Gilmour
One Tuesday afternoon in the not too distant past, while I was admiring my newly acquired March Break tan and berating my newly acquired March Break belly, unbeknownst to me, the world had leapt forward by about 4 years…
Every Tuesday, I get the “distinct honour” and privilege to be assistant coach to the now 9-year old’s community soccer team. Some may say this is a pure act of self-flagellation. Others suggest that I’m missing some kind of “self-care” chip and that I should use my free time to do something exclusively for myself. To the head scratchers I say, this is an act of pure selfishness: I get to be around the 9 year old’s friends, immersed in a 9-year old’s world, wear my sneakers, jump, run around, and for one complete hour, the job I’m doing as mom, wife, or daughter, the bills I have to pay, the deadlines I have to meet, all melt away. Every now and then, when I think no one is looking, I also have a good kick at the ball!
But on this particular Tuesday, the almost 13 year old had also come along and was doing what he does best: entertaining the 9 year old’s friends. That kid and I share that same microchip of wanting to play host and entertaining – akin to basking in the spotlight…who’d have thought?
Knowing the team was in good hands, I set off on my organizational duties when I was approached by two soccer dads:
Dad 1: Wait ‘til you hear what happened!
Dad 2: **Pure “dad-style” belly laughter** Ho-Ho-Ho oh yes!
Me: ***uh-oh, did I do something?*** Umm…what?
Dad 1: He (gesturing to Dad 2) asked me who that was in the net (pointing to the almost 13 year old playing goalie and inviting a swarm of raucous, rowdy 9 year olds to try and get a goal past him). My brain failed me and I told him it was your 9 year old! The 9 year old!! Imagine that!!
Me: **totally perplexted** Huh?
Dad 2: Ya! He said your almost 13 year old was in fact the 9 year old **interrupting laughs** and I said…hahaha…I said…”what are they feeding that 9 year old??!! He’s huge!! How did he get SO BIG in just ONE MONTH!?”
Dad 1: **Joins in on “dad-style” belly laughter.** Yes, yes and that’s when I realized that I had mislead him! I said the wrong name!!!
Me: Oh dear! That must have been shocking! That is the almost 13 year old! Otherwise, I’d have to say **joking** it’s all the growth hormones in our food!!
Or is it??
Before I know it, the 9 year old will be the almost 13 year old, while the almost 13 year old will be the almost 17 year old and I still will not have painted my deck, taken that trip to Brazil to see the carnival, sugar loaf mountain and the giant statue of Jesus, figured out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, and be that much closer to…”THE CHANGE.” Most importantly, though, I will have TWO teenage boys living under my roof who will probably both do what my own mother always jokes about and stand at least a foot taller than me on either side and oh my goodness, they’ll exaggerate the look of my then-not-so-newly-acquired-belly!!!
No. It’s too much. Too fast. HOW WILL I EVER BE READY??!!!
Mr. Niceguy is often reading through at least 9 or 10 books on his nightstand with titles like, “How to be a good parent” and “The development of the male brain from 5 to 50”, “How to be a warrior at work and play” and “Rules for a happy life”. Scanning the titles on my side of the bed one may find a very dusty journal about comparative genocide from 2008 – which I’m still planning to crack open, a stack of dog-eared design magazines, my trusty read and re-read Harry Potter to which I cling like a lifeline but which serves as a paperweight, and my latest acquisition – a book about baking bread because DAMMIT there must be a way to save the reputation of this glorious food and make it a good carb once again!
Whenever I share my anxieties about parenting teenagers in the not-too-distant-future with Mr. Niceguy, oftentimes, I’m encouraged to read one of his books – like the “analysis and engineering of human behaviour”…that’s when I blame myself for sharing my anxieties…
You know the type that you find browsing in the non-fiction or self-improvement sections of the bookstore? She happens to be one of my very best friends, actually. She’s calmly looking through gardening, nutrition or child care books with a look of absolute bliss. Well, that’s not me. I’m the one tearing through the aisles looking for the fun print, colourful, picture-enhanced, feel-good books…mainly in the fiction section! Or quite frankly, I’ll be in the housewares and gift aisles! If I’m in the self-improvement section, I’m the one with that look of absolute despair and desperation because I’m at my wit’s end – my absolute last straw!
Note to self: remember how this all started? A misunderstanding. A misunderstanding that the almost 13 year old was the 9 year old when in fact, he is simply the 12-and-three-quarters-year old. I’ve got time before I’m the mom of 2 teenage boys. I’ve still got to paint my deck, I’ve still got some travelling to do, redemption to get and of course, find the recipe for a non-belly-forming-glutenous bread.
I just need to laugh-out-loud like those two dads…and put on my sneakers and kick the ball like nobody’s watching. Time will take care of everything else…