Parental Guilt, and the Debut of Luke’s Cross-Country Career

Ah, guilt.

I know things will never be totally fair between siblings, no matter how hard parents try. And really, there’s no way to make things perfectly fair, and it’s a good life lesson for kids that things just balance out along the way (as long as parents truly aren’t favoring one child over the other, which I’ve seen happen).

Mostly, this isn’t something I sit in and worry about. We try to be fair, we explain what’s going on when things don’t seem fair, and that’s that.

However, something had been eating at me a bit over the past few months.

Last fall, Bennett was placed on a baseball team at random. It turned out to be a really, really good thing for him. One of the coaches was getting ready to form a team for the spring, and he asked Bennett to be a part of it. At first, we were taken aback by the level of commitment it was going to take, but after we thought it over, we decided it would be a great opportunity for him and went with it.

Being that this was our first experience with a competitive team, we didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if the parents would be too intense, and too critical of other kids.

I couldn’t have been more off-base. Midway through pre-season practices, Matt became the third base coach because we’d become so invested. Not only were the parents totally encouraging, but we became friends with the coach and the other parents. Like, I miss hanging out with them regularly now that baseball season is over.

Not only that, but Bennett loved it, and grew so much over the year, and formed some awesome friendships with these kids.

Which brings me to fairness. And Luke.

Luke has always loved baseball, and he’s a good player. But we’ve never been fortunate enough to get him on a team with a group of kids that’s as dedicated as Bennett’s team. He has nice coaches, a good friend on the team, and some kids on his team who play hard regardless of skill, but still: there is a huge chasm between our two boys’ teams.

Luke doesn’t complain about it, but he’s certainly aware. And honestly, unless the boys are playing catch or football in the yard together, they aren’t fiercely competitive with each other.

But, I had this nagging feeling of guilt. Of wanting Luke to have something that is his that he can excel at. Of hoping that when he grew up, he wouldn’t look back on his sports experience and feel like he got ripped off.

I remembered a friend at church mentioning that her daughter ran with a running club (um, could anything be more foreign to me? I think not.). I got some information from her and contacted the coach, and Luke was able to join the team.

That week, he went to his first practice, where he probably ran about 2.5 miles after running a mile at school that day. That sounds like torture to me, but he loved it. He’s been going to practice once a week for a month now.

Monday, he ran in his first ever cross-country race, which means that I got to attend my first-ever cross-country race. It was far more exciting than I’d envisioned, and because Luke’s race was fairly short (2.5k, or about 1.5 miles), over quickly.

He ran the 2.5k in 12:44, which I think is a great place from which to start! He knows that he can run a mile on a track in about 7:20, and that cross-country miles are harder, but figuring out a pace was probably tricky for him this first time. Plus, I know he was just a bit nervous about the whole thing, including making sure he didn’t get lost:). It’ll be interesting to see what he does at his next event!

Who knows if this (or Bennett’s baseball) will be something that we stick with for years and years, but for now, these are great opportunities for the boys that I’m glad we were able to take advantage of. Just one more reason I’m so thankful we’ve chosen to raise the boys in a metropolitan area…so many choices!

Of course, we still have another kid who will someday need to find his niche…

8 responses to “Parental Guilt, and the Debut of Luke’s Cross-Country Career

  1. Yep, we get that guilt from time to time. It happens to all of us. But, you are one awesome momma and I know you are handling it beautifully.

    Um, I can’t believe how big/old Luke looks in these pictures. Like A LOT older than the last time I saw him which was not that long ago. Time goes too fast.

  2. We deal with this on a little bit different level. Our kids are 5 yrs apart. Right now the middle child (3rd grade) feels left out becaue the freshman in HS is playing sports, going to Homecoming, and seeming to get a lot of attention. We try to remind him that his time is coming and HS is a busy time in your life. Thankfully, the almost 4 yr old doesnt care. However, with the boys not living with us we are limited in what activities they get to participate in. Their mother refuses to take time out of her “busy” / I don’t work schedule to allow them to participate in programs of their choosing 😦

  3. You always give me something to think about…three boys and so many sports in my future.

  4. I just have to comment on how much Bennett looks like Hailey! You’ve got some cute kiddos Nicole! My husband is just praying someone in our family is interested in something besides cheer leading and dance!

  5. Cheerleading……not cheer leading. Ugh!

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