Tonight Ryan had his first soccer practice. He is 8 and has never really been interested in playing team sports, so Kel and I never really pushed him. Noah was all about doing soccer this season, however, so when I was registering him I asked Ryan if he wanted to play as well. He surprised us by saying yes, so I signed him up too.
I have to say I was a little nervous for him. Most of the kids that are on his team have been playing since they were 4 or 5, so I was worried that he would be too far behind skills-wise to enjoy it. (Side note - how ridiculous is it that I am worried about my 8 year old being behind in soccer skills?) I was also worried about how he would do in a big group of boys. He tries really hard to fit in and make friends, but he is just a bit quirky and doesn't always "get" how to function in social situations.
Noah has his practice at the same time and place, so I was over with him while Kel got Ryan started. After a few minutes we traded spots, so we could each get a peek of the other one. I noticed that Ryan was kind of looking around for Kel, obviously not realizing we had traded spots. He was in the middle of the group of boys when he spotted me and started to blow me a kiss. Then he quickly realized where he was and he turned it into a funny little wave, not wanting the other boys to see him. My heart flip-flopped with an aching love for my sweet child who is growing up right before my very eyes. He's only 8 and tonight was the first time I realized that this is just the beginning.
Every now and then he would check in with a quick thumbs up, but he seemed to have a great time despite the fact that both times he got the ball he kicked it towards the wrong goal. He smiled the whole time.
I often find myself waiting for this "phase" to pass, for my boys to grow up, for them to stop behaving badly, or to act more mature. Today I shed a couple of tears for my babies no more. Treasure each moment, each day, each year with your child. Enjoy who they are right now. Love them despite of how crazy they make you and that love will come right back to you over and over again.
"While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about."