A dear friend recently asked me if I had ever written an article about the amazing things moms do for their children. There was a reason she asked this, of course, and it got me to thinking about the some of the trials and tribulations both moms and dads endure.
When our son was little, he developed a passion for an arcade game in the mall in Piqua. It was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and it cost about fifty cents to play a round. Our son, however, was not content with one round. He was adamant that he would continue playing until he finished all the possible courses of the game.
The good news is that he was good. The bad news is that it cost another two quarters every three minutes and the rounds seemed to go on forever. They didn’t really go on forever, just about 10 dollars’ worth of quarters. It took about an hour, which, when watching someone else play a video game, is forever.
But his dad, being a good dad, saved quarters and when he accumulated about $10 of them, they would happily go to the arcade. Matt would feed the quarters and watch his son play — and win — to the bitter end.
I recalled years later, when our son was on the track team. I would take a couple hours of personal leave from work to drive to outer-Mongolia to a stadium to watch him run a 50-yard dash. There were no programs or schedules, so I would make a cushion out of my sweater or blazer, perch for six hours on a hard metal bleacher, and eat concession stand food. Finally, typically very near the end of the six hours, our son would run in his race. It lasted less than 10 seconds. Then, I’d drive to his high school and wait for the bus.
It was long and often boring day, no question, but I did it all season long. I was actually happy went he decided to bowl the following year. At least those events are inside!
To my friend’s question, she recently went to Columbus to watch her 30-year-old daughter run a half marathon. Her son-in-law was also running, but only a 5K. It was one of those weekends when the temperatures were sub-zero and the wind chill was even more frigid. One has to question why we think half-marathons (or indeed, any outdoor running) are a good idea in Ohio in winter, but perhaps that’s just me. At any rate, my friend stood outside in the arctic air, cheering her daughter and son-in-law across their respective finish lines.
I guess the truth is that parenting is a life-long job, and one which requires a few inconveniences. Those endless Monopoly games, watching packs of small children chase a ball around a soccer field all afternoon, scary mornings teaching them to parallel park…these and so many more are part and parcel of the wonderful position of “mom” (or “dad”).
What was your biggest challenge? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.