I was driving Three home from a soccer game, and as we exited the highway he said, "I want to play CYO."
I almost drove off the road.
CYO is Christian Youth Organization basketball. Our church fields teams up through eighth grade. Two and Three both played for two years, until Two graduated from the program. Two's team was comprised of high-caliber travel team players. Three's team...was not. There were a few boys who knew how to play the sport, but most struggled. Three was underutilized, and the team lost most of their games. Three doesn't like to lose, so he was generally sullen, which doesn't go over well with coaches. After two years of dragging him to practice and games, I'd had enough. Mercifully, so had he. He didn't play last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed not having to drive anywhere on Sunday afternoons. So, when he mentioned those three letters, my first reaction was horrified disbelief.
"Why??" I asked, silently questioning why the Lord continues to test me. Have I not proven my love for my children over and over again? Granted, I had momentarily considered plowing one of them into a tree, so points off for that, but cumulatively I think I've scored high marks for dedication.
"To play more basketball," Three answered calmly.
Basketball is Three's favorite sport. He honestly believes he might get drafted by the NBA. I don't see that happening, unless he improves his grades (pathway to a good college team), or his practice habits (detour around the college). So, it was hard to argue his point. He knows the team will likely stink, but he wants to join anyway, to improve his skills. Furthermore, this raises an important question. Should I be steering my children away from their dreams?
Last night, the Captain and I sat at the table and listened as Two complained about the irrelevance of his Spanish and Chemistry classes. Two wants to be an actor. He is performing in "The Tempest" this fall, and he was selected to join Madrigals, which is the most elite of the choral groups in his school. I take him to voice lessons once a week, and he wants to begin auditioning for outside theater productions.
But seriously, "NBA Star" and "Actor" sound like vocations chosen by six year-olds. Shouldn't Two and Three understand their limitations by now? Don't they know how many people say they want those jobs, and how few attain them? Isn't it my job to be prudent and point them toward actual money-making careers?
I spent my first few years in college studying bar hopping and random promiscuity, and I got my degree in drug addiction before retiring to rehab. When I got clean and went back to school, my only goal was to complete my B.A. If I had been sober the whole time, I might have studied creative writing, or filmmaking. Perhaps I would be finishing my seventh novel now, or producing the screen adaptation of my first trilogy.
I had an opportunity to work with filmmakers the first year I was married. I spent my weekdays with a young commercial director, and on the weekends I worked on an independent film. The Captain was very supportive of my endeavors, as he is today, but my jobs were small and more clerical than artistic in nature. Eventually, I got pregnant, the small storyboard company I was working for had to close, and life took a turn.
I don't regret any of the events in my life, because they all led me here. But perhaps my early struggles to be a creative person have influenced the way I view my sons' choices. I wasn't successful, so I don't believe they can be. But Two often says, "I'm not Megan Coakley, Mom" when I try to get him to understand my flawless reasoning. He's right. He's a better singer, a better actor, and more singularly focused than I ever was in high school. He and Three have defined goals, even if I think they're far-fetched. Maybe my job is to simply refrain from saying that, and let them try. And if they achieve their dreams, Three can finance my movies, and Two can have the leading roles.
I'm beginning to like this plan.
P.S. If you enjoy my diary entries, go check out my post over at The Bettyverse today. Then you should hang around there for a few days and soak up the Betty wisdom. It's full of sparkly goodness, and Universal Positive Regard. It's possibly better than chicken soup for your soul!