I predicate my entire life on balancing my kids' needs with the level of b.s. I need to experience to meet their needs. And sometimes, my tolerance for the b.s. wears thin, threatening activities that, you guessed it, are either helping my boys, are things they enjoy, or some combination of the above.
Right now, league bowling occupies the bete noir spot on my life's to-do list. I hate that Gabriel gets no coaching in his league (the other kids do); I hate that the other parents encourage their kids to bully Gabriel (which is why I now occupy his lane radiating all manner of hostility--it stopped the bullying, but hasn't fixed the coaching problem).
The situation in Nic's part of the forest improves weekly; although he and his teammate also get zero coaching, no do-overs (other kids do, and their more competitive parents allow it and dis-allow it for our boys), Nic's come a long way in curbing his behaviors and acting more like the almost 12-year-old he is. When a mom told her son that Nic has 'conduct problems', I called her on it. She didn't apologize, but she did backpedal. I'll take that.
Two weeks ago, I was on the point of pulling them both out for good, for all the above reasons and a whole bunch of other craziness and insults collected since September. Today, I was pleased to see Ry, Nic's teammate from many a Friday last year, join Nic and R to be with them for the remainder of the year. "He missed bowling with Nic," his dad said.
And Gabriel does enjoy rolling, oblivious to all the sturm and drang around him. I reminded hubby of these things as we had our weekly post-roll stew on the way home. "We have to remember that we can't change these people," I said. "And we can't let them chase us away, either."
Water off a duck's back. Years of weathering other people's judgment and insanity has hardened me, like it or not, to the point where I almost enjoy pissing people off by showing up. Because you know what? We have as much a right to be there as they do.
And let them make their judgments. I can see that my boys have both made huge strides since September. I see their progress. And their progress validates their presence there--and anywhere else they want to be.
Chew on that. I am.
I remind myself that these activities are not about me, although other parents sometimes sadden, frustrate and infuriate me. At some point, both boys are going to meet this hostility head on, probably sooner rather than later. And I will have to be there to teach them that life doesn't allow you to choose your interactions. So you have to be prepared to handle whatever comes your way.
They both handle adversity pretty well. I like to think I'm a good model. After all, kids don't always listen to what you say, but they will do what you do.