Monday, May 2, 2016

The Least We Can Do

I was sick pretty much all week last week. I finally went to the doctor on Friday and came away with a double diagnosis of sinus infection and bronchitis. I also got myself a prescription for an antibiotic and a steroid to help with the infection and ensuing congestion brought on by the infections.

This makes me realize that when Tom called on Thursday night and offered to go to Lyss’s track meet, I probably should have taken him up on it. It was a very cold (lower 50s) afternoon with pretty significant wind. Tom knew I wasn’t feeling well and so he’d offered to take my place at the meet and I could go home and spend the afternoon with Livie.

I thanked him for the offer but declined. I wanted to be at Lyss’s meet. I wanted to be one of those parents who never miss a meet.

I know, what difference does it REALLY make?

Alyssa wanted me there and I wanted to be there for her, so to US, it made a difference. Sure, she’d have been fine with her dad being there but she’d prefer me. Just ask her.

There is this girl on Alyssa’s track team. Let’s call her Tatum. Tatum is also in Alyssa’s grade, so she’s in seventh grade.

Tatum couldn’t compete in the first track meet of the year because she hadn’t have her sports physical. She was there for support, though. She’s a sweet enough girl, seems little immature when compared to Alyssa and her other friends.

Anyway, she did get her physical and was able to compete in the rest of the meets. She shows up, she runs hard and she always, ALWAYS looks like she’s freezing because she wears only the track uniform provided by the school, which is a tank top and shorts. I mean, wait, she does have sweat pants she puts on after her races and a jacket but when she running…just the shorts and tank.

Alyssa and the rest of the team have both short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts for under their uniforms. They also have both knee-length and ankle length running shorts/pants that they were under their shorts, depending on the weather. These extra clothes are provided by the parents. We searched EVERYWHERE for royal blue running pants for Lyss and just found them a couple of weeks ago.

There are a lot of parents like me who show up to every single meet because, well, we’re able to do so and we want to.

Tatum, on the other hand, has never once had a parent or grandparent or even an aunt or uncle show up to a meet.

I’m trying so hard to understand that there are obviously valid reasons this girl never, ever has anyone at these meets. Maybe both her parents work second shift and they simply cannot afford to take time off work to come to her meets. Maybe they don’t have flexible jobs that allow them to be gone from work several hours twice a week to watch her compete.

Maybe she’s being raised by a single parent (I don’t think so, though because she talked to me and my mom about her ‘parents’ at the first meet) who is struggling just to buy groceries and keep a roof over their heads and so can’t afford running pants and shirts for under uniforms.

We’re lucky over here. We have two parents and several grandparents who are able to do these things. We can afford the running pants and shirts. We can adjust our work schedules and be there for all the meets.

My mom put it pretty succinctly this weekend, “They put in all this work, the least we can do is show up and watch.”

And I agree with this but I’m trying to be a little less judgy when I see kids like Tatum working so hard and not having a single person there to hug when she finishes a race. There could be so many reasons her parents can’t be there.

Those of us who are lucky enough to be able to be there will cheer for the kids whose parents can’t. It’s the very least we can do.

1 comment:

Swistle said...

Yes. I realllllly dislike thinking of parents coming up with theories about why other parents aren't there. There are so many good reasons, including the kid not wanting them there, and it can be really hard to tell who is in the stands for which kid. I am remembering when my eldest wanted to do basketball, but stipulated that I NOT watch. Or when another one of my kids wanted to be on swim team but I had two toddlers and a baby to take care of; before he signed up, I warned him that I would not be available to come to the 4-hour meets. Thinking of other parents pitying my children makes me feel pretty cranky.