Friday night we went out to watch my husband’s cousin play soccer. She’s a senior in high school. I always want to call her our niece because it feels weird to call her my cousin. I think it’s because I grew up with tons-o aunts and very few cousins. Anywho, weird comment about cousins versus nieces aside, we love watching her play soccer. Maybe it’s because I wish I was half as good at playing soccer or because we love their family or simply because our daughter adores Taylor. Or all of the above.
Of course “watching” soccer with toddler is like anything else you do with a toddler. It’s mostly playing and not a lot of watching. We ran up and down the bleachers. And by we, I mean Lola ran and I walked. In the process of all this running around, chasing, jumping, and trips to the potty our daughter ran across some kids close to her in age.
**Confession** Sshh, don’t tell anyone, but my heart freaks out a little (ok, a lot) when my child approaches new kids for the first time. I’m afraid for her. I’m afraid the kids won’t like her, that they’ll be mean and that my child’s sweet little heart will break. It takes everything I have not to jump in and ensure that it all works out in her favor before she even has a chance to introduce herself. Oh, the agony of wanting to control everything and not allow my child to be hurt.
While Lola is off making new best friends, I realize that I have to be social. I need to at least acknowledge the other parents. Great, now I’m no longer afraid for my child, I’m afraid for me. What if they don’t like me? What if they brush me off because I let my child run around without a jacket when clearly it’s much too cold to be wearing a sleeveless shirt? I look around to see if anyone is going to jump in and rescue me from my fear. No. Oh well, here goes nothing. Hi.
I start talking to one of the moms and she asks me if Lola has a big sister playing on the team. Wait. Did she just ask me if my child has an older sibling in high school? Fumbling through words I manage to choke out that we’re watching my husband’s cousin. Then it hits me – the negative thoughts – does this mom think I’m old enough to have a daughter in high school? Oh wait, I am old enough to have had a child in high school. I mean sure I would have been pregnant in high school, but it’s entirely possible. But really, it’s not that I was worried that she thought I had inspired MTV’s 16 and pregnant, I was worried that she thought I was old.
Of course I did what any self-respecting woman does in this type of situation. I turn to my husband and say, “Honey, do you think I look old?” Poor guy. It’s like asking, “Does this make me look fat?” or “Do you like these shoes?” What’s he supposed to say that will make me feel better? Nothing.
I mean sure my body seems to be unhinged at times, but I blame Crossfit for that, not age. I’ve never been one to worry about age, but you know insecurities always have a way of needling in. If it’s not our self-image, it’s our possessions, or our kids, careers, husbands, etc. Pretty much anything that can be a reflection of who we are can be turned into a weak point.
Darn those insecurities. Wish they would back off.
Oh my husband did make a great comment. “You don’t look old. You know we are in that part of town were plastic surgery is popular. Maybe she thinks you had some work done.” Funny. That’s the best part of insecurities, you can’t take them too seriously or they become a problem.