I am passionate about my family. My husband and children bring me more joy than anything else I've experienced or attained. My daughter plays volleyball. She's pretty good. She has a lot of potential and in an effort to expose her to more hardcore volleyball, we allowed her to play club this year.
If you're not familiar with club sports, they are basically private/elite teams that are supposed to be composed of the best and most competitive players. Truth is, they are composed of the wealthiest players. The kids whose parents can afford the best coaches, the travel and other many expenses that come with being on one of these teams.
We are far from wealthy. We decided to make a sacrifice for our daughter for several reasons: She loves the sport; there is a 7-year gap between her and her next sibling so we did it for social interaction with her peers, to afford her better college opportunities and for leverage with her grades. She has to keep a certain GPA to play.
I am reading a book called Successful Women Think Differently by Valorie Burton. She mentions that people are happiest around other people who make the same or less than they do. Perhaps that is why this club volleyball thing is so miserable for me.
Right now, I'm in a hotel that I would only book for a very special occasion like an anniversary or something. The people are too much for me. I'm hiding in my room with my sons while my daughter is off with her friends. Not only do I feel completely out of place but we can't afford all the shopping, dining and extracurriculars that come with these trips. But it's not about me or how I feel. It's about my kid.
She is all smiles. She is with her friends and playing her sport and her mother and brothers are here cheering her on. My parents kept us in sports and band. They insisted we all (five of us kids) played a sport and played an instrument. My childhood was perfect. I have nothing but happy memories. I never stopped to think about what my parents were going through. They too were the only black parents. They're from DC and Atlanta so I know for a fact they were out of place in Coupeville. They only had each other just like Nick and me. We cleave to the unspoken innate understanding. What our kids know as normal is rather uncomfortable for us at times, but we're trying to give them a better life right? Isn't every parent? Wanting more for their kids than they had for themselves?
In all of this unease, I hope my daughter is making happy memories. I know the boys are. I have gotten so many compliments on their behavior. I can remember people complimenting my mother on our behavior and I remember thinking. "We have no choice! She beats us!" I'm sure they're thinking the same. But they're having fun, playing with their action figures, swimming in pool and cheering their sister on for long stretches in the gym.
Bishop Jakes once said that Passion + Pain = Purpose. That's what this is all about - happy, well-rounded kids. So I'm going to put on my happy face and leave this room. I will smile and be pleasant, cheer and politely turn down invitations to do more than we can afford. I won't let my daughter see my that outside of watching her grow as a middle hitter, I'm not enjoying this. I will make the small talk, go through the motions and hug her and tell her how proud of her I am which is 100% truth as is the fact that I can't wait to get home to my husband.