We celebrate Penny’s seventh birthday with a soccer party at Dulles Sportsplex. Friends from pre-school, friends from Floris, girls, boys, older brothers, younger brother competitively play soccer and Sharks and Minnows in the most non-competitive way possible. Riley scores four goals on Lucas because “he is going easy on her”, Cody is untouchable, Brady and Zachary are the dynamic duo, Mikayla is determined to tag Penny as the last minnow, Oliver plays his hardest undeterred by the fact that he is the smallest and in between there are cartwheels, hand stands and smiles.
I had three teacher conferences this year, told at each one where my son was challenged or challenging. It was sobering, my son who has always been complimented on his self-control, manners and humor now being scrutinized for all of the above. I rained down on him, my disappointment and frustration falling in thick sheets. I doled out punishment and new expectations. Lucas, meekly, accepted it all.
I ask Lucas to do ten things a day, he does all ten without question or hesitation. He makes me laugh out loud; sometimes I am laughing at him, so is he. He relents when I demand. And he gives the warmest, hardest, sweetest hugs.
I couldn’t normalize what I was told and what I know to be true.