It’s your average Thursday night in the suburbs. The dinnertime chaos hasn’t been cleared from the kitchen table yet, but my too tall 5-year-old and I are heading out to run an errand.
It’s a rare treat to go out alone with Mommy. He bounds behind me to the van through the dark spring evening. As we ride through the quiet streets of our neighborhood, he points out the stars. “Look, Mommy, I see a star! There’s another one!”
Onto the freeway now, and then off a couple of exits down. We pull into the shopping center. Red glowing lights gleam “Dick’s.” I open the van door. The stream of excited words barely slows down as he climbs out.
Following an impulse, I pick him up. He is light, but he’s so tall now. He’s so much more awkward to hold than he used to be, all long limbs and knobby knees. He doesn’t complain, though. He’s still young enough to feel like being carried is normal.
He makes me stop by the sliding glass doors. He points up. “Shout ‘Hello!’ to the stars, Mommy!”
I set him down right inside. Two stories of brightly lit sports equipment meet our untested eyes…. rows and rows of different balls, racks of jogging shorts, a big screen tv playing a game.
I ask the cashier to call someone to help. I don’t know what I’m doing, and I know it. While we wait in “team sports,” Seth and I kick a small soccer ball around to each other.
A kind middle aged man arrives. “My son is starting his first soccer league on Saturday. I need shin guards, a size 3 ball, and some soccer socks.” He looks at the thin little boy tucked under my arm at my side. “He’s going to need extra small shin guards. I think I have a pair upstairs. Let me go check.”
I let him pick out a ball…. his first soccer ball. “I want a blue one, Mommy.” “Can I have this?” “Oh, THANK YOU, Mommy!” He wants to hold it while we wait.
I pay. I sign up for the frequent customer card. I do have three boys. =)
Seth wants to carry the bag out to the car himself. He grins a silly grin and tries to carry the bag with his teeth. “Look, Seth. There’s a full moon.” We ride through the darkness back to the welcoming lights of home. We sing a “days of the week” song. He wants to figure out when Saturday will come.
Saturday will be here before you know it, Seth. I can’t wait to see you take just one of many first steps into boyhood.
I’m going to be a soccer mom.