Oh My God, I'm a Soccer Mom
posted by Amy

All three kids are attending a soccer camp down the street from our house this week. Let me just say that again, for those of you with two or more kids: ALL THREE OF MY KIDS are in soccer camp for three hours a day ALL WEEK and I don't even have to get in the car to take them there. Try not to hate on me too much. (I do have to wake them, feed them, dress them in clothes and shinguards and socks and cleats, and send them off with soccer balls and many containers of ice water since it's, oh, about 800 degrees around here this week, but that's a small, small price to pay for hours to grocery shop and read and fold laundry and write by myself.)

This is our seventh season of soccer, starting with Vincent playing Under-6 soccer. This year we'll have one in U-12, one in U-8, and one in U-6. I'd complain about how hard it's going to be to get everyone to practices and games, except my parents had ten kids and we all played soccer at various points and they somehow got us all where we needed to be. Well, of course I'll still complain, but just not yet. Every day when I drop the kids off, I see mothers and fathers and grandparents and kids I've know for years now. Somehow, at a time when we're constantly hearing that no one in America knows their neighbors and kids don't play outside or ride bikes or walk to school, I've landed in a neighborhood where we know our neighbors and kids ride their bikes to the city pool and the market and their friends' houses and kids walk to school. It's a little weird sometimes, like we're living in 1950 while the rest of the world is in 2006, but we're incredibly lucky to be here.

For instance, it's Josie's first year playing. Every time I see her running down the field with her fellow four-year-olds I'm compelled to mutter inanities like, "Remember when they were all babies together? And now they're playing SOCCER!" Josie is wearing Vincent's first pair of cleats, from when he was five, which makes Chip and me very happy since 1) we're cheap, and those cleats weren't, because they're very, very small, and Henry never did fit them because he's some kind of giant boy child and outgrew them when he was a zygote or something; and 2) Little Sister! Wearing Big Brother's First Soccer Shoes! Meaningful! And Cheap!

But while I look at her cleats and think of a tiny Vincent wearing them before Josie was even thought of, she looks at them and thinks, "Ugly old BLACK shoes! I want pink cleats like all the other girls have." Her very nice coach told her that in England, where she lives when she's not traveling around the U.S. teaching soccer in ridiculously hot climates, no one wears pink cleats (or socks or shorts or shinguards). But Josie doesn't really care about what they do in England, because she's FOUR and all her friends HERE in the United States where she, like, LIVES, have pink socks and cleats and even pink soccer balls.

You know where this is leading, don't you? That's right. Straight to Big Five and Sports Authority and all kinds of online soccer retailers because damn if I don't want to find my little girl at least one pair of pink soccer socks. And maybe some pink practice shorts, and also some soccer hair ties, and a Mia Hamm poster... and this from a woman whose sons are still wearing the same ugly gold league-issued soccer socks they were given when they were four and playing for the first time.

People, I'm this close to putting a soccer sticker on my minivan. Someone do an intervention, quick.