Living in Two Different Worlds … And Loving Every Minute of It
My initial 19 days away from my family is behind me, and as hard as it was to be away, I feel like a lot was accomplished over that span. I even made it home from our California and Japan tour in time for the kids to not even realize I left!
I was able to spend five glorious days with Dave, Grace, Will, and Jack, and now, I find myself back with Team Canada in Oklahoma City for the World Cup of Softball. I’ll be here with the team for two days, then again back to my family in Akron, and the four of us (minus Dave) will head off to Christina Lake, British Columbia. We’ll stay there for one night, then I’ll hand the kiddos off to my parents before boarding yet another flight, this time to Vancouver to meet back up with the team.
Its. Been. Nuts.
Living in Two Different Worlds
As I sit here in our hotel in OKC, I am trying to switch back into “softball Lauren.” I woke up in a wee bit of a panic at the thought of pitching a game tonight. Wait … what? I was just in Akron getting back into mom-mode, business-mode and family life. Now, I’m back in softball-mode and trying to make sense of it all.
As it turned out, my time in California and Japan wasn’t just great for training and practicing — it was also a great chance to reflect and reassess.
Here are some of the realities that smacked me in the face:
- That growth and comfort DO NOT co-exist, and while getting out of your comfort zone sucks, you’re definitely better off for doing so.
- That taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, and when you do, great lessons can be taught to your kids.
- That mommy guilt is real, it’s not going anywhere, and it’s best to just come to terms with it.
- That I am soooooo fortunate to not have any real problems, and how important it is to have perspective on all things.
- That it truly does “take a village” — I need help (as all moms do!), and that doesn’t make me any less of a mom.
And, even though I’ve learned so much, I’m still human and have moments of weakness. For example, my mommy guilt was in overdrive when I returned home after those 19 days. So when the kids and I went to Target for a “small surprise,” we ended up walking out with the biggest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles playsets we have ever bought and a horse for Grace’s doll collection that is as tall as she is! When we returned home with our haul, Dave looked at me, laughed, acknowledged my mommy guilt and, thankfully, didn’t get on my case about it.
On a really positive note, when I was gone, I had a great 19 days with my teammates! I was in a glorious place where everyone could do things for themselves (unlike my kids) — they could actually get along, wipe their own asses, and even listen!
WHAT??? Was that real life?
I’ll be honest, I didn’t miss my darling children crying, fighting, and coming down for the 15th time after they were supposed to be asleep. Who knew someone out there could actually go to sleep when they were supposed to go to sleep, and then stay asleep all night? There’s no doubt being around adults who know how to compromise, cooperate, and collaborate is pretty great.
But just as I was getting used to the “adult world,” BAM, I was right back into “mommy world” — gone in flash were people in my life that listened, reasoned, and could wipe a butt. Despite all those minor differences, there is no place I would rather be than at home.
The Lessons I’ve Learned
Living in two different worlds and being faced with these realities has led to learning a few more valuable lessons.
Here’s what I’ve taken away from this journey so far:
Being a mom is the HARDEST job in the world. Nothing compares to it. I thought I had nerves of steel in my softball days, but to be a mom you need nerves of … whatever is A LOT harder than steel. Being someone’s “everything” and feeling responsible for helping shape their life — yep, that’s a hell of a lot more stressful than bases loaded! All in all, my softball life is a vacation when compared to life as a mom.
I’m the luckiest person ever to have this opportunity. Not that I didn’t appreciate what I had when I was playing ball in the days before starting a family, but when you are in the middle of something, it’s often hard to really grasp what is going on. This time, I am fully aware. I’ve taken more time to take photos, to laugh, and to simply be present. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am to have traveled back to Japan. We saw one of the most-visited temples in the country, went to Mount Fuji, took a calligraphy class, and, oh yeah, played against some of the best softball players in the entire world. Are you kidding me? This is my life? I am beyond thankful.
I love the game, even more so than I ever did. In a way, now that I am able to play softball again, I realize this had to happen. This sport has given me everything I have in life. It gave me my college degree. It gave me an opportunity to travel to and play in more countries than I can count. It led me to Chicago to play professionally for the Bandits, where I happened to get tapped on the shoulder at a bar one night by the future love of my life and father to my three kids. It gave me the best friends I could ever ask for. It taught me discipline, dedication, hard-work, responsibility, and accountability. You name an aspect of my life, and softball has helped shaped it — in more ways than one. I owe so much to the game, and to have another opportunity to play it, for my country, nonetheless, AND as a mother-of-three, has been one of the most rewarding opportunities I have ever had.
Always take chances — there is no reason not to. I am surprised at how much of a rush playing has given me. I love growing as a person. I love being the grandma on the team. Getting out there after eight years gave me a feeling like I have never had before. I feel like I am truly living right now. And to be honest, it almost seems surreal. Literally. I can not believe this is happening. When I was with the team, I couldn’t believe I had three children and a husband. When I got home, I couldn’t believe I was a softball player again. But, I am going with it. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time. Wearing whatever hat I have to wear that day.
And I can honestly say, I am enjoying every minute of it.