Thursday, April 01, 2010

are we on track?

It's been a hard week. For whatever reason, things are piling. I feel the weight of large life questions pressing on me and frankly, my shoulders are bowing.

It's spring, for some, Easter time, and there are lots of chickens and eggs being batted about these days. It's also the situation for Isaac and I. Who knows which comes first, but when one of us has a hard time, so does the other. We match. And so, it's been a week.

A couple days ago, Isaac tried track out for the first time. His growing mind and body are demanding new things and for his age and our availability, we found track. For ages 4-14. It's through the city's parks and rec department's activities. We arrived at the community college's big new field and track and were treated to an unceremonious greeting and speech about things that made no sense to Isaac and little to me; they had nothing to do with what would happen there, that day, and everything to do with future logistics aimed at the older crowd.

At some point, the “coach,” a big-bellied man in a blue windbreaker, waved his clipboard and pronounced, “The kids can go.” Uh. Huh? This man was a “coach” like the guys with leafblowers spraying Round Up are “gardeners.”

Image if you will, (and because Coach would not), the enormity of seeing a football stadium up close and personal for the first time as a five-year-old. Now picture someone telling you you can “go.” WHERE? WTF? Isaac had a friend with him that had done track last year and so after some confusion and questioning of parents in the vicinity, they took off for their warm-up run around the track. I walked back to the other side of the field, where it appeared people were gathering, to meet Isaac as he came around.

We were informed of nothing from this point on. I surmised where the kids were to go and motioned Isaac and his friend that way from my place behind the fence. The group split into two – ages 4-7 and 8-14. Several people I didn't meet and whom I'd learn later had failed to introduce themselves to the kids either led the little ones – a group of maybe 15-20 kids - to the other side of the field.

They did some stretches and warm-up runs that involved directions such as, “Right over left! Okay, now switch!” It's here that I'd like to mention that when I went into the fourth grade, my teacher asked me if I was left-handed or right-handed. I had no idea.

After about 20 minutes, Isaac lost it. My little perfectionist, my sensitive soul. I flagged him down (by then they'd been on so many far reaches of the area, he didn't know where I was) and one of the anonymous leaders brought my tearful boy off the field. Later, at home, Isaac told us, “I just wanted to run around!”

There is a reason for the ramp up to the bleachers. We all experience this world differently. If you experience it in a physically different way, it is clear for people to see and hopefully accommodate. If you, on the other hand, experience it in away that is emotionally different than the mainstream, good luck to you. This is not our first encounter with “community” recreational activities for the 3-5 age group that deal in a sink or swim attitude, but this post is already too long and that's another story.

We will go back tomorrow and try again. I am attempting not to be invested in whether or not Isaac continues. I am attempting not to foster the desire to beat the shit out of people who suck. I am trapped between wanting my son to have the skills to function in the world as it is and wanting to tip that world upside-fucking-down so that it sees him as he is.

Here's what came out in the journal:
Reluctantly, I stumble into the again-bright sunlight, the rain only a shower teasing me with its restful arms. I am warmed, despite myself. I spy the sidewalk chalk, its colors heightened in their damp pile and I want to sit down right there and begin. But I don't.

Our dreams, our dreams stop us at the door. The sound in the periphery is the flutter of wings. We pause, listen, and then, with the gravest consequences, continue across the threshold to other, quieter rooms, where nothing, not even the chatter of the warped window frame, catches our ear and we may recline in the sterile hollow of obedience.


Barbara said...

Like the new format and colors! Great post too. It is ridiculous, isn't it, the people who are sometimes in charge of kids' activities?

Dianne said...

the people "in charge" sound awful, as though they have little interest in the kids or take any joy out of being with them

maybe find that friend and just let Isaac and the friend run around when the track isn't being used

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