Sunday, October 4, 2015

Blue Shorts

There's a place called Mount Laundry that stands like a giant beast within my house.  It is constant, much the same as Mount Rainier out my eastern facing windows.  Like Rainier, Laundry is sometimes hard to see through the fog that hangs over my head on early mornings as I squint at it in disbelief. Most of the time it's in sharp focus though, daring me to conquer its height and depth of cotton, dirt, denim, grime, and polyester.  The appearance of Laundry, as with Rainier, changes with the seasons. It's muddy in the winter and spring, crusty and dusty in the summer and fall, and stands with an awe-inspiring and formidable presence at all times.  Mount Laundry deserves a story all its own, but that will have to wait until another day.

Tonight, right at the peak of Mount Laundry lay the blue shorts...



At 1:10pm this afternoon, just 5 minutes before soccer pictures were scheduled, I got this text from Keith:

So Carson didn't wear his game shorts.

And just like that, with the release of one simple sentence, my day was in a tailspin. 

I had left the house about 90 minutes earlier, planning to have Keith take Carson to his pictures where I would soon meet up with them. Now, I've learned from prior experience gone wrong that all details must be clearly laid out if I expect things like teeth to be brushed and shoes to be on for such events. And so a list (with time schedule and specific location included) was left to ensure success...

1. Have Carson take a shower
2. Feed Carson lunch
3. Make sure hair is combed and face isn't dirty
(one may think that #3 would be covered by #1, but #2 -and also lack of supervision during #1- cancel that out)
4. Bring picture envelope, soccer ball, and water

And right here is where it all went wrong. I verbally asked the youngster if he could get his uniform together. We're not talking rocket science here.  Just a white shirt, black shorts, shin guards, socks, and cleats.  The same garments he puts on unattended and wears every week.  What I did not do...was put this information on the list.
As a side note, I later checked his drawer to confirm, and there were 7 pairs of black shorts rummaged through (some tossed to the floor) in order to pick out the fantastically bright-blue-with-neon-green-stripes shorts that young Mr. Hickle wore to his pictures and game today. And the probability of Carson choosing blue shorts over black based on the data provided (thank you recent homeschool math lesson) is 1 in 8. But our family is clearly skilled at defying odds. 

The same mental fog that prevents a clear view of Mount Laundry on certain days must have consumed me for a bit today, because there's a blurry period of time beginning at exactly 1:10pm. Thankfully (not really), it was punctuated by the sight of my Jeep - driven by father and son who could not get the shorts situation right - parked directly in front of a NO PARKING - FIRE LANE sign as I cruised into the parking lot. The fog lifted.



Oh good. Now everyone I know who does Soccer Saturdays in Enumclaw is aware that neither can I get my son dressed appropriately, nor can I park properly. Can my day get any better?

I found my guys...easily spotted courtesy of the blue shorts...retrieved keys (snarled a bit at the driver of my vehicle), and stomped - scowling - back to the lot so I could move into a parking space. There is a discreet action known about and used by moms everywhere who've experienced something like today. It's the ability to be mean, mad, and ferocious to your loved ones in public while ensuring no one in sight realizes anything within your family unit is wrong. A skill, yes, but not one to be proud of.

The timing of all this is funny.  Last night, as I spoke to some women at a church event, I admitted my occasional (okay, constant) struggle with wanting to control situations. How from the time I was a young kid, I wanted to be in charge so no one else would mess things up.  Group projects in school had my name written all over them; I'd volunteer to do the whole thing so I could both make sure we got a good grade AND I wouldn't have to deal with other people. A total win for an introvert like myself. I went on to tell them that once I realized God is in control of my life and I am not, I was able to give up that need to control everything. Hmm...I may have spoken too soon.

And so here it is - after all my internal panic over my kid wearing the wrong shorts, all ended just fine.  There isn't a dramatic turn of events that causes this already thrilling story to get even more exciting.  I made a pretty big deal out of nothing.  Gosh, I might be a little too focused on getting things right.  And maybe a bit too concerned about what people think of me. I was recently patting myself on the back for mastering the art of arriving to practice on time.  Well, mastered meaning I've done it once or twice (but hey...). So today, I figured every bit of credibility I'd earned from the coach for learning to be on time was lost on those blue shorts.

Sometimes we put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves and others for no good reason, don't we?  I must admit - it's okay that not everything went as I'd planned today. In the big picture, none of it really matters.
It's even okay if I don't live up to everyone else's expectations. 
Or the unrealistic expectations of perfection I tend to set for myself.
There is only One who matters - that's God - and hard as it is to believe, He actually likes me the way I am. 
My job isn't to be perfect, it's to remember that.

Thank goodness there is life after blue shorts on a black shorts game day.

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