Family Practice: You see some, you miss some, you move alongWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | email@example.com
Between games, practices and the backyard, I’ve likely watched my son play hundreds of hours of soccer over the past six years. Being a bit of a videophile, I also like to record what I’m watching with the stark realization that we may or may not ever watch it again. It’s actually a family tradition that has been passed down from my parents to me — hundreds of hours of recorded kids’ sporting events sitting in a box quietly awaiting an audience that may or may not ever show up.
You just never know when that one special moment in time is destined to arrive, however. The sporting event I most recall from my younger days, working hard to win a tennis match that I realistically had no business winning, is unfortunately not among the hours upon hours of my youth athletic footage.
My mom became so enthralled in the action of the whole thing that she stopped recording at some point, so the magic of it will instead forever be left to memories alone. Still, even if it were sitting in my video treasure trove, would I really sift through the massive amount of noneventful moments in time just to find it?
Today’s cyber world is different, though. Not only can I keep better track of the best and brightest highlights of my children’s athletic and other achievements, I can share them with the world within a few seconds if I so desire. At his last regular game of this past spring soccer season, my son, Jack, added such a share-worthy highlight to his lifetime collection.
I must have had mother’s intuition about a momentous event on the horizon, as I made it a point to stop at the drugstore closest to the playing fields in order to procure the all-important miniDV tapes we seem to be perpetually out of. When I saw that the cost was $17 for two of them, I made it a point to walk out of the store empty-handed. I couldn’t help but tell myself, “How likely is it that I’m going to record something I would pay $17 to see again when I have hundreds of hours of my own recorded childhood that I don’t even bother glancing at for free?”
Less than an hour later, my 9-year-old took a cross shot from one of his teammates and headed it into the goal for the first time. From the crowd’s reaction, it was a pretty nice shot and a pretty big deal. As you can guess, I didn’t get it on tape.
The surprise, however, is that I didn’t see it happen at all. Yes, after hundreds of hours of watching him play, my son made his finest soccer maneuver to date in the 90 seconds I was crouched down looking at a photo book the team was giving his coach after the game. In my defense, Jack wasn’t even in the game when I took my eyes off of the field, but that didn’t stop me from guiltily and defeatedly dwelling on it for days after.
I spent four days in missed-moment mourning, and then I missed something else.
After 10 minutes down the street without them, my husband and I joined our three children at a small family get-together at my parents’ house. Expecting to see smiles and hear light-hearted conversation, we walked into a room full of stunned faces and an obvious air of quiet disbelief. “What’s going on?” I cautiously asked, assuming everyone was just talking about us behind our backs or something. “Everything’s OK, but Jack just choked on a piece of candy and I had to give him the Heimlich maneuver,” my sister (and hero for life), Michelle, calmly replied.
After four days of foolishly carrying around a pit in my stomach because I happened to miss a moment, I quickly realized that the only thing that mattered was the happy ending. As the scary ordeal began to muddy Jack’s brain when he settled in that night, I was able to confidently assure him that we have to let the bad part go to honor the good part. As hard as it is to keep going and not take too much pause, it’s the only way that seems to work. Wish as we might, the dwelling on it doesn’t change a thing.
We take it in, we take it on, we let it go and we move on. Easier said than done, but that’s all there is to it.
Shannon and her husband, Michael, are raising three children in Sylvania. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.