Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sometimes a boy needs his dad.....



My middle son, Daniel, has always been stockily built. Not overweight, like my youngest is now, just tall and sturdy. My ex-father-in-law used to call him his "little football player". Daniel is tall for his age, and has broad shoulders like his father. Perfect build for football.

Tonight Daniel started football practice. He is playing for Floyd County Catholic, a team of junior high age boys from several of the local Catholic K-8 schools in the area. Apparently Daniel had been playing with some of the guys at school during recess last spring, and one of his friends-Seth-told his dad that Daniel was pretty good. So Seth's dad talked to Daniel about it last spring at 5th grade camp, and he has had the "I'm going to play football" bug ever since. I ran into Seth's mom, Pam, at school registration last night and she was very enthusiastic about Daniel playing.

So tonight was Daniel's first practice. He was so excited, and I was excited for him. I never believed in the "he's a natural athlete" line until Daniel came along. Although Joseph played several sports - basketball, soccer, baseball for 2 seasons, and swam privately and on the high school team - he was never that kind of kid. He's a book and music boy. But Daniel has always been the kind of boy who was never far from a ball. He's played soccer since he was 4, and apparently is a decent pick-up basketball player. The reports from several parents, and Daniel's coaches, is that he is "a natural" and did very well tonight. He is exhausted but happy, and can't wait to go back for more tomorrow night.

What sobered me tonight at practice were all the dads. Most of the boys had their dads with them. There were some moms,too, but most of them were there with their husbands. I felt for Daniel. He didn't say anything about it....it was mostly me, I think. Other gaps showed up....he had a sports physical and didn't know about the "turn your head and cough" part. Luckily, the doctor doing the physicals was his friend Jake's dad. His coach explained to him why he needed an athletic supporter, and hopefully the clerks at the sporting good store can help with the right size. I feel so inadequate. I haven't got a clue where all those pads go. I've never dressed a boy for football. I am going to be at the mercy of the sporting goods store, when it comes to cleats, supporters, mouth guards.

It's times like this when I would really like to kick his dad's butt. It makes me want to cry to see all those boys standing around with their dads. I can't stand my ex-husband and I'm glad we're not married, but it's so unfair to the kids. His glorious selfishness in putting his own needs above the needs of his former family comes back to bite time and time again. I have prided myself in raising my children for the last 4 years by myself, but I can't ever give him what those other boys had tonight. His dad.

Of course, it has been an extremely long day, with many more long days to come, and I'm tired and stresed and moody....so that is probably where part of this pity party is coming from. It all comes back to the eternal truth: divorce sucks.



UPDATE:
Sorry I was so blue when I wrote this last night. I just had all these thoughts and feelings and I didn't have anywhere to go with them but here.....

Anyway, there was some positive last night. My oldest son, Joseph, who is 16, came home from his back-to-school get-together with his friends kind of late and I could hear him and Daniel talking in the dark, as Joseph passed his room on his way to bed. Daniel was telling him all about practice and Joseph was asking questions. Then their voices got kind of low for a few minutes. Shortly after that, Joseph came back to my room and said, "Hey mom, I was talking to Daniel about football practice and don't worry....I explained to him all about the cup, and I told him I would help him get his pads on. I know YOU don't have a clue about that kind of stuff.(and he laughed) Good night." What a kid. I guess sometimes a well-meaning mom and a great older brother will make an acceptable substitute.

7 comments:

Mr. Husbland said...

I remember being confused as a kid about cups. My dad wasn't very much help.

The big part is supposed to go down.

Sad to think I was confused about that once upon a time.

FindingHeart said...

First of all, your last line echos in my head.

As for no dad, don't give that too much credit. I had a dad all my life. In school, he missed most of my games. My uncle probably came to more games than he did. My dad loved me, but I was just never encouraged by him to do sports, etc. I see mom's at school who do a great job at being dad and mom. Whether the dude is constantly on the rode or is absent, the mom had to provide both. I never thought it was easy for them, but some accepted it and ran with it. Sink your teeth in. Go to the sports store without your son and find an older sales person. Ask them EVERY question about gear you may have. Don't feel shy, it is their job. Then, take the boy child with you to get the stuff. Use the terms, and talk about why he needs the cup, how to lace up the pads, etc. If he sees you are trying, chances are he'll pull you up with him. Don't leave it to some guy to do for you if you can avoid it.

Yeah, it'll suck, but most people out there (and your son) will probably respect you for your effort. (None of this was meant to assume you aren't trying.) Have fun!

HoosierGirl5 said...

Thanks, guys. Mr. H., you made me laugh. F.H., this isn't the first time the father/son gap has reared its ugly head in this family in the last 4 years, so I know the routine. But thanks for the encouraging words. I KNOW I can do it, I was just feeling a little down about having to. And as for my last line, it's so sad that it's so true. Even if one party didn't want the divorce (as in your case and mine), even if everyone's lives will be better in a lot of ways because of the divorce....it continues to hurt someone year after year.
J.

Tuesday Girl said...

I am sorry you were feeling so blue

sunShine said...

That made me cry. I am glad that your oldest son is willing to step in and help. It does make a difference to have supportive people in your life, even if they are not your dad. You are doing a great job.

Tricia said...

I hate that your ex isn't there for your kids - what about your boyfriend? Can he help and offer fatherly support?

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