When I was an elementary school kid, I don’t remember anyone having an extra-curricular activity that wasn’t a seasonal sport. Granted, I grew up relatively poor so that probably influenced my experience. In middle school, however, there were after school programs that met and a late bus that was able to take kids home afterwards. I was a member of the Amistad society, Young Educators society, and the art teacher eventually let me hang out in there the rest of the time. I loved that time. In high school, I was selected to be a part of special program which was out of town. No more late busses, so I wasn’t a member of any after school activities or clubs. Loving the after school programs made me almost quit the program, and there’s so much I feel I lost out on by not having those opportunities.. I’m a bit bitter by that actually..
With that said, when my children get excited and want to try something, I encourage them and usually bend over backwards to give them that opportunity. You want to do gymnastics! Let’s sign you right up! Football! Ok! I had NO IDEA just the amount of afterschool programs and the EXPENSE of it all..
Last week my son said he wanted to be part of a production performing Lion King. My son performs all the time for the dojo, and he has no fear of being on stage. He’s so funny and energetic and one who loves entertaining public audiences that a play just makes sense. I think I was just as excited as he was..
We went to the initial orientation and the ladies were nice… but I nearly choked on the schedule. Three times a week for two hours.. There’s some expenses involved…Parent volunteer needs. And it wasn’t being held at his school like I assumed, which meant major transit.. it conflicted with his bjj/karate schedule, which is a concern because he’s testing for second degree black belt next year and during this “cycle” it’s expected karate come first. There was just so many conflictions, but I didn’t want to let my son’s hopes up.
So I largely kept my worries to myself.
Which is a lie, I panicked to my momma friend whose child also has the bjj/karate demands. She assured me we can make it work. We could trade kids and one of us would do the little kids karate run and the other would do the play. Then she reminded me that this crazy was only for a few months.
We can do that, right?
At the orientation my son said he wanted to try out for Ed. He was given some music to practice for an audition that was to meet a week later. He spent the next day you tubing the links they wanted him to for references to sing….
And that was it. He went a whole week without practicing, or even discussing this play. Hell, I probably deserved a role for the hours that song was stuck in my head. Despite my suggestions and countdowns to the audition, my son spent his week watching Digimon in his spare time.
On his audition day, as we were waiting for the bus, he asked me to remind him to practice when he got home from school.
I don’t think I hid my twitchy anger very well….
I told him that this audition was something that he should have spent the whole week practicing for, not the hour before the audition. He was asking a lot of everyone that supported him to change their schedules, provide rides, and even finance his ability to do this play. His lack of practice showed he wasn’t willing to make the same commitment to the play as he was expecting me to make for it. I said I would still take him to the audition if he wanted, but this isn’t an organization that let’s everyone play. There are 35 slots for 50 kids auditioning. And I was willing to guarantee that those that really wanted to be in the play didn’t wait the last hour to practice. He had COMPETITION.
There were some tears, the silent and manly look away kind, and he went on the bus without saying much about it.
In retrospect, I feel like the meanest mom on the planet…
When he got home, he was fine. All smiles, he said he decided not to do the play and that was that.. Life has gone on. My sanity for the next few months is secured, but I’m sure my momma friend isn’t too happy we bailed on her united front. (although I did say I would still do the karate shuffle).
So, what I’d like to think we learned is that we just can’t do it all. If it’s important, it will work out. If not.. life goes on.