“I love normal parents. Here’s why”

I+love+normal+parents.+Heres+why

By Amy Fenster Brown, Special For The Jewish Light

A sports season just ended for one of my kids. This time it was high school soccer.  With several seniors on the team, there’s the sad realization that the roster will be different next fall.

That’s the thing with kids growing up — they’ll all move on at some point, like after graduation. Sure, the ones who are good friends will stay close, while others will drift in and out of each other’s lives. They’ll head off to different colleges, career paths, or the military and likely will cross paths again.

What about the grown-ups?  Seniors graduating means several parents we love sitting with at games will not be back in the stands with us. Bummer. And this was the year that all the parents were normal.

No matter your kids’ chosen activity, you’re stuck with the parents.

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Before kids, we had plans with our own friends, but once we had children those tiny people were our focus. As parents of little ones, we have to go along and stay during playdates or time at the park, and what starts as cordial small talk sometimes goes deeper. You might make plans for the whole family to get together, or plan to sign up for the same kiddie class.  And if you’re really lucky, an actual friendship might blossom. Jeff and I met some of our very closest friends from a playgroup we were randomly asked to be part of when our oldest was just a few months old.

As the kids get older, they can hang out with their friends on their own, without us having to stay. You might still be involved with the other parents for things like carpool or to check if it’s really OK for your kid to sleepover. So you’re still kind of stuck with these parents, and you just hope they are normal.

It’s not always the case. You can’t click with everybody. Something awkward could happen like the kids not being friends anymore, or realizing you dated one of their dads years ago.

For the most part, our experience with fellow sports parents has been great. One season we had some snooty moms who had no interest in being friendly. Another year we had a parent who got kicked out for yelling at an umpire… more than once.

This year we lucked out with parents who took the time to learn the players’ names and jersey numbers and cheered them on with heartfelt gusto. They texted the parents of an injured teammate to check in. They arranged dinner or drinks after a game and opened it up to the crowd.  And somewhere in that camaraderie, actual friendships blossomed.

We had parents of older players welcome parents of younger players with wide open arms. We had parents of injured players stuck on the bench still come to games to support the team. We even had parents who supported one mom who got into a verbal altercation with an opposing team’s mom and might have also written this article.

Now that fall soccer season 2022 has come to a close, I will truly miss what we, the parents, had in the stands. I’ll see some of them at other school events, run into them at the grocery store and text them if I ever run into the opposing team’s mom who was kind of mean to me and heard all kinds of colorful words leave my lips.

Some actual friendships have blossomed. Our bleacher crew will change, as it does every year. But this year seems to sting a little bit more, probably because all the parents were normal.