As a young dadwithoutballs, I looked forward to parenting with an easier schedule than the stressed-out masses.
Other dads shuffled their kids from practice to practice and game to game.
Mornings. Very early mornings.
These dudes resembled the undead in their drooping jeans, cargo shorts, and stained sweatpants. Their skin sagged. Dark circles colored their eyes. I couldn’t imagine any of them enjoyed what was going on.
On my end, I anticipated storytelling and long talks. Without a rigorous schedule, my family could rush off to the movies, check out plays, and run like mad creatures through open fields whenever we wanted.
You’re grinning now, right? You knew this plan wouldn’t work before I did. Or maybe you figured it out based on the title of this post.
My kids found theater. Kids always find something.
Over the last few weeks, my twelve-year-old rehearsed from 4:30 to 7:45 pm every weekday. She put time in on Saturdays too. Last Friday was opening night. She ruled the stage as the main villain. She played the role again on Saturday, and Sunday was a double feature. Now, she has fourteen shows to go. Another production just cast her as one of the Hyena’s in the Lion King. So she’ll need to juggle performances and rehearsals.
She won’t get home until 10:00 pm on many school nights. Luckily, the kid is a trooper. She’ll do her homework after she gets home. If she doesn’t get to sleep until 1:00 am, that will be fine with her. Nothing stops this one. The girl scares me.
So I can’t let myself get frustrated or too disappointed that we are not running through parks like a wild family. I need to follow her example.
My sixteen-year-old has a play opening Wednesday. She’ll work every night until at least 9:00 pm. Then she’ll have plays throughout the weekend. All of this with ADHD, at least one anxiety attack, and a desire to attend to a weeknight party even though she knows she has an essay due, math homework, and a French thing to finish.
The girl will also make room for musical performances, time with her boyfriend, and several moments to consider how she will change the world as soon as possible. She’s been thinking about that a lot lately.
My role is mostly to drive kids around. My advice is not wanted or helpful, but I get to watch them sing and dance. Standing in the doorway, I’ll spy as one kid does homework until all hours and the other vanquishes her anxieties and comes up with ways to help others with problems worse than hers.
I’m a dadwithoutballs on a theater schedule. My forehead gets wrinkled. My sweatpants are stained with tomato sauce. Luckily, my girls don’t let me wear cargo shorts.
Of course, I love it as much as sporty dads love their early-morning trips to hockey rinks and soccer fields.
No, I love it more because there’s not a single ball in any of these plays.