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The Crowded Acre: Soccer Mom

By Jennifer Welch

I’m not entirely sure how the thing happened. I was there, of course, when it happened. I even took part in the happening of the thing. But I still can’t be sure of the how part. And, you know, life goes on – blah, blah, blah, we will all survive – yada, yada, yada. Maybe I will even find a way to forgive myself somewhere way, way down the line. But for right now, in this very moment, I am still kicking myself for that single moment of weakness. I am utterly questioning what made me do the unspeakable deed of signing all three of my children up for spring soccer. Ugh.

We had a family rule. I’m not sure what that rule was, but I do know that prior to breaking this rule, we never had to endure multiple practices and sports games every week. Not to mention that soccer season falls during calving and farrowing time, during which I also have to prep our food bus to go back to Main Street for summer. Then there’s the convenient little fact that Brian, my husband, is working most of the weekends that have scheduled games. Just perfect. But, I keep telling myself, it’s only six weeks of our lives, right? And yes, I have made a friend named Marley who is some type of miniature Chow mix that really likes the way my pants smell … but that is besides the point. The point is that I like to be at home with my family and my animals, and shouldn’t that be enough? Okay, okay, I want to be a good mother too. I guess. 

[InContentAdTwo] So, I persevere. Like many women who have come before me, and the many who will follow in my footsteps, I carry on. I go to soccer practices four days a week. I wash really long socks and make sure they are paired with their proper match. I pack snacks and water bottles and sunscreen and shin guards day in and day out. On Saturdays, I remain at the mercy of the game schedules. I run from field to field cheering on the kids, trying to remember to call them by their actual names instead of calling them by their team color. I vaguely understand the game of soccer, enough to know if we are winning or losing. But from what I gather, understanding game rules is far less important than raw team spirit and the presence of snacks.

Maybe the happening of the thing isn’t the end of the world. Maybe this moment of weakness will turn out to be a moment of triumph for our little family. After all, who needs to be convinced to sit on the grass in the sun a few times a week? For as much as I thought I would regret it, I have enjoyed it tenfold. And who knew that the kids would actually turn out to be fairly decent at pushing a ball around on the ground with their feet? Given that their father, who liked to play in the grass and crawl after bugs, required a co-goalie when he played soccer as a kid, I’d say they are exceeding our expectations. The best part, though, is that when we come home after a long day of school and soccer and snacks, the farm is still here. My little family is here. My animals are here. Everything I could ever need or want is still right here where I left it, and maybe a few things I never knew I needed or wanted are here too.

Jen Welch lives and writes in the Upper Arkansas River Valley and she will drop kick anyone who tries to put a “Soccer Mom” sticker on her farm truck.