How to realize you’re too busy.

It’s been a time here, fellow humans.

Softball. Endless softball.

The pano I sent my roommate Janelle when I realized we were playing on what was surely her home field in Norton. It is.

Alysia asked me the other night about this out-of-character softball participation. I’ve been firmly in the camp of “no summer things” forever. I’m a believer in a generally simple life, saying no to most of the things, taking a true break from school, and not using summer as just a way to fill time with more and more. The only exception has been VBS. So she’s right to be asking, frankly, because this is completely inconsistent with history.

This spring at the second set of parent-teacher conferences, Sadie’s teacher Michelle roundabout-ly encouraged me to find something that Sadie could be good at right out of the box, something to build her confidence.

Aside: How to tell who’s a good, veteran teacher — this is it. Some teachers are good and some teachers are veteran, but you can’t always have both. Our elementary has three women who are both, and our oldest kid had two more prior to their retirements, and I can’t even tell you what kind of good foundation this has built for the kids.

But back to confidence. Is it a middle-child thing, a Sadie thing, a this-family thing? — I don’t know, but she has so much ability yet so much reluctance to do anything because she is worried she can’t do it. And, in any case, when Sadie asked to do softball, I remembered what Michelle had said, and we were already late to turn in forms and start practice, but we got special dispensations from Rome (or Matt, as the case may be) and both Sadie and Ivy started softball.

It takes a lot of time to go from batting lineup to catcher.

Good heavenly days. Talk about a love-hate relationship for this parent.

I do like baseball and softball more than most chase-a-ball, run-over-people sports. The Rockies were an expansion team when I spent most of my time during baseball season in a combine cab with a radio for company, and it was good. If I have to hang around and watch sportiveness, I at least have a grasp of most of the concepts of baseball and can manage to be not a complete doof as a spectator.

Youth softball is every Monday and Wednesday (baseball Tuesday-Thursday), and bizarrely, the way it’s set up does not have all ages from a town playing their games in the same town on the same night except maybe a couple times in a season. You know how usually a school’s JV volleyball, varsity volleyball, JV football and varsity football are all on the same day in the same town? This is not that. So there’s a ton of logistics and driving for those of us who’ve got more than one kid in the sport. I’m left being thankful that we don’t have a boy in the mix. This is enough already.

Left field, and she remains much more alert than I do — even threw for an out at second at their second home game.

The very good news is that we have a couple highly competitive towns in our league, at least that I’ve seen so far, and some teams that vary widely in talent and ability, and yet no one at the games is a jerk (except one teen boy we heard, but there’s always that one exception, right; and someone must’ve gotten on him because even that stopped). No one harangues the ump even when perhaps it would not be out of line. Everyone encourages their own team without discouraging the other team.

The girls have picked up various cheers from other teams and (while repetitive) it’s super funny to hear the opposing dugouts chanting the same six things over and over at each other, sometimes almost in unison.

In Norton, it turned out my cousin Julie’s kid Ellie was on the other team, and I figured it out when Sadie was catching when Ellie was the batter. I didn’t grow up near any cousins, y’know, and it’s just so neat to run across them in daily life.

Softball would be the coolest thing to do if only we didn’t have anything else to do, is what I’m saying. There have been days when regular life has taken me to town twice and softball another two times. Four trips to town IN A DAY is completely over the top.

Actually, maybe I should count how many days in the last month we’ve taken the Suburban out of the driveway four or more times. It’s been a lot. My grasp of time isn’t great (as we all already know) so there’s no way I could remember all the trips without some memory aids. This much going is absolutely, positively not something I want to be doing.

Mykel pitching with Sadie at catcher — a pretty good pairing for a pretty good little team.

Thusly and therefore, Alysia and whoever else might be wondering, I’m doing it, but I don’t want to!!

Which brings me back to: How do you know when you’re too busy? Well, this week we have skipped church and I have skipped a blood drive and a Bible study.

There it is. That’s too busy. Those three things are of top importance to me, and they’re not getting done. (Oh, and I swept and vacuumed one morning, and Raina asked me if we were having company. No, kid, really, it might seem recently as though that’s the only reason I clean, but this time it’s because we just don’t need to be living in filth.)

We’re probably going to skip most of the Bertrand Days events this year, too. The softball tournament is scheduled overlapping it. We might make the parade and a rodeo performance.

Again, this is how I know we are too busy.

I didn’t know I had this nice one of Andrea and Baylee until I went through about 2000 photos. Not an exaggeration.

The decision about next year’s softball participation will come sooner than we expect. It will hinge on Sadie, which is a bit of an odd thing for this household. She’s catching. She went to her first practice, and the next practice she was the catcher.

I’ve got to say, her class is something else altogether, just an amazingly cohesive group of kids. She and the two pitchers have a special kind of connection, and I’m not surprised at all that they work well together on the field. When you find people who can see these traits and relationships and bring them out in the kids, there’s where you build confidence.

No matter what next year brings, I’ll forever appreciate Michelle, and also Matt, Jason and Marcus, for this opportunity for Sadie’s growth.

What about Ivy? Well, she also enjoys it, and yet I think she feels it more strongly that she’s behind the others in her age group. She’s a lot like me as a kid in that she just assumed all along that she couldn’t ask to play, and honestly, I’d’ve probably said no — for better or for worse. That ship has sailed, so it does no good to worry unnecessarily about it.

Ivy is the queen of hit batter and also the queen of stranded baserunner — she finally crossed home at her team’s second home game.

From what we’re seeing right now in overall participation, next year’s option for Ivy is only an 18U multi-town team. I’m not sure how that would go, but it may well be that she will want to continue.

On the other hand, Ivy will get the chance to play volleyball in junior high this fall, and already she has said numerous times she really wants to play volleyball based on her brief taste of it in elementary PE. I’m interested in watching that develop.

And yep, I pretty much don’t care for sports. I am morally opposed to being this busy. But here we are. Yet another thing that, had I been thinking ahead, would there be five kids? So, it’s a tremendous blessing that I didn’t think ahead. This might be the one way my inability to time-and-distance has worked to an advantage.

2 thoughts on “How to realize you’re too busy.

  1. You definitely are too busy. Although, I remember being too busy too. With four children, they got two out-of-school activities. And church was one of them. I still was in the run forever!


  2. It does seem as if the activities for kids now do not take larger families into consideration. This is why we mostly held the line with our kids of no activities until you’re old enough to do them through school (6th grade). Because then, the school takes care of transportation. The 7th grader was INSANELY busy this year. He did all the things, and I think next year will not. Lessons in life balance at 13 years of age . . .


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