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.
To wear underwear, or not to wear underwear? That is the question.