The Tennis Tournament
Parenting is an adventure. We know this. We all have funny parenting stories to tell. This particular adventure involves one of my two boys; the one who is a high school freshman who joined the tennis team. Freshmen boys are not known for their organization, time management, or communication skills. In fact, there seems to be a complete lack of all three. My oldest demonstrated this recently. A mid-weekday morning in our house involves people getting up, dressed and out the door to school or work in a timely, haphazardly manner. (While I would love to say we are extremely organized, and getting everyone to work or school is a piece of cake – well, some days are better than others.) This late February day was not one of the best.
6:45 AM – his phone rings. Now, I’m wondering who on earth would call him at such an early hour. Then I hear, “Today!?! Do I need to dress out? The bus is where!?”
Insert deep mom sigh here.
Me: What do you need? Where do you need to be? When do you need to be there?
Him: (panic stricken) I forgot I had a tennis tournament today. I need my uniform, and to be at school ten minutes ago. The bus is getting ready to leave.
And, up the stairs he goes to change clothes. I begin making him a lunch, as he normally buys something at school. He comes zipping back down to the kitchen, grabs his tennis gear, and demands, “Let’s go! I am already late!” It’s a good thing I understand his brain is not fully developed, and in the teen years, it is normal for teens to be self-centered. Even so, I took a deep breath, and asked, “Do you need a lunch?” “No, mom. I just need my tennis gear. We play all day. I don’t need my backpack or anything. I just need to go. I got this. I just need to get to school.”
Handsome hubby and I look at each other, sigh and shake our heads. Hubby takes the teen-man-child to school, and drops him off. Upon hubby’s return home, he said, “He wasn’t the only one late. Others were still getting on the bus.”
Now, my brain has a chance to slow down and think about how his day will probably go. Then, I realize, he doesn’t have lunch, or money for lunch. He didn’t take anything to drink, no water or Gatorade. He didn’t take any kind of snacks, or even have breakfast. So, I text him. Because, of course like the majority of teens in America his phone is embedded in his hand.
Me, 7:20: What do you need for lunch today?
Him, 7:43: I need my lunch, or money.
Me: Where and what time?
Him: The CF Educational Support Center. And soon, please.
Me: Are you on the bus? Do you need sweats and hoodie, too? (I mean, it is February and a little chilly outside.) Would you like some snacks, too?
Him: yes and yes.
Me: Ok. I’ll meet you there by 10:00 AM.
Him: Never mind. Moving to a different place. Text you where when I find out.
Grateful my youngest had a great morning, and was self-sufficient in getting himself up and dressed for school. We grab our things and head out of the door. I drop the youngest off at school, and head to work. Once I get settled, I text the forgetful tennis player.
Me, 8:00: I kinda need to know where I’m going. I’m at work, but will have to go home. Get your stuff. Then find you.
Him, 8:30: I’m at CF High School.
Me: Are you sure that’s the name?
Him: Yes – come soon- cold.
He didn’t reply.
I explain to my boss the situation. Being a mom, and having been in similar situations herself, she is very understanding. I hop in the car, head home, and gather up the needed items. Get back in the car. The Google Maps lady telling me where to go so I can find my cold, hungry, tennis playing son.
An hour later
Me, 9:35: I made it. Where are you?
Him: At the back of the school.
Me: I’m at the back of the school. I see the tennis courts near a baseball field and a football stadium. I don’t see you.
At this point a coach notices the lost mom and takes pity. I’m not sure if it was the look of bewilderment, or frustration, I was just thankful for a helpful adult.
Coach: Can I help you?
Me: I’m trying to get this bag (holds up bag) to my son. He plays for KHS.
Coach: What division?
Me: (Blank stare to quizzical look) Division? (I’m thinking – wait, this is tennis – not math….)
Coach: Grade? Singles? Doubles? Mixed Doubles? The students are scattered among the ten high schools in our district depending on the division they play.
Me: I’m not sure. He just said he had a tennis tournament. He. . . .
My phone rang. It was the teen-man-child.
Me: What division are you playing today?
Him: Ummm, not sure.
Me: What school are you at?
Him: Ummm, not sure.
Me: Ask a grown up who looks like a coach. Use these words, “Excuse me, can you please tell me what the name of this school is?”
Him: CFF High.
I thank the coach for helping a lost and clueless mom. She smiles, shakes her head and walks away.
Back to the car I go. New address in the gps. Fingers crossed it isn’t too far. Jack pot! It’s ten minutes away.
10:15 – I finally find my child and deliver the needed goods.
Jump to the end of the day. Around 6:00 PM, I get the “come get me, we are back” text. When I get to the school, he is helping unload things off a bus. He goes to the locker room, grabs his gear, and walks over. “How was it? How did you do?” I ask. He sheepishly grins, pulls a medal out and said, “I got 2nd!”
And that is the agony and ecstasy of parenting. Now, shopping with boys is another story.