A few days ago I decided I didn't care anymore. I signed up for a tennis clinic with no childcare arrangements set. My foot was down. I was going - the rest of the world could figure out how to get along without me.
Let me back up a bit.
Three summers ago, we joined the golf club. With Adam's frequent games, it made financial, geographical, and logical sense - at least for him. Reagan was only a few months old at the time, Madison not yet two, so we knew their usage would be limited for a while. They could go to the baby pool with me, join us at the restaurant, and gradually grow into it. But a big selling point for us was what I - a non golfer - would get out of the deal. And even though the promise of a close local restaurant and a beautiful pool I didn't have to maintain were nice, what I was looking forward to was the tennis courts. Finally, finally, I could play again.
I never "played" tennis in a oh, back in the day when I was competitive way, but I was a recreational player who loved the fitness, the fun, and the fact that you really only needed one other person. A social sport, but not one where you'd need to coordinate many players to make it work. I took lessons when we first moved to our town, and stumbled on one of my favorite ways to work out. I didn't make the effort to play over the winter, and let me assure you again, that I was never much good, but I enjoyed it in the summer. It was fun to meet up with friends and feel like you were getting some fitness in with your recreation.
Then I stopped - every summer there was something that slowed me down. One year I'd hurt my back, and my physical therapist advised against it. Too many hard stops and starts, too much potential for sudden twisting. One year I was newly pregnant - and then miscarried. I went from feeling physically off to mentally off, and I just didn't make it a priority. The next summer I was 9 months pregnant and then had a nursing newborn. The following year I was pregnant again, exhausted, sick, and caring for a one year old.
All valid reasons. When my teaching year ended, calling a friend and getting to a court just wasn't on my list.
But the summer we joined the club, I had a place to play. I wasn't pregnant, I wasn't hurt, and the courts were there whenever I was ready. Sure, I had an infant and a toddler. Sure, I didn't know anyone well enough to pick up an impromptu game. But surely I'd find at least one time to get over there and see what I'd been missing.
Ok, fine. I had a nursing baby and a two year old. It was hard to just jump in. But that was OK. I was using the pool, and the courts would still be there the next year.
They were. I wasn't.
I planned to play. I really did. Now I had a 16 month old who was no longer nursing, and a 3 year old. I had a mother's helper. I could use her to go over and play. But...I still didn't really have anyone to play with. I didn't know anyone there who made use of the courts, and I was too self conscious to just show up. And all the clinics were in the morning, when Madison had her activities that I still had to go to. And when I did have my sitter, I was running errands.
I didn't play.
When fall came around and the courts closed, I was mad at myself. Two full summers of courts that were literally right there, and I couldn't get my butt over there. Was Adam using these reasons to not play golf? He had two kids too. He didn't know the ins and outs at first either. But he figured it out - fast. And he encouraged me to do the same.
The difference? He did it. I didn't. I made excuses. He didn't.
This summer - our third summer - Madison is taking swimming lessons (Reagan is not, which is a story for another day), golf lessons and tennis lessons.
The sight of my not-quite-four-year-old, standing, posing happily in her skirt and top with her racquet, finally pushed me over the edge. My preschooler was getting to play before I was. What was I waiting for? When both kids were playing? When they asked me to play a match with them? Or maybe not even then! They'd be playing with each other while I sat there, taking pictures and instagramming how cute they were. Enough was enough.
When Madison was in her last lesson, I marched myself over the bulletin board and signed up for a group lesson. It's a morning - so neither child will be napping. It's a weekday - Adam is working. It's during my regular sitter's vacation - a sitter wasn't a given. I didn't care. I was done waiting for all the stars to align.
I got home and let Adam know, telling him I wasn't sure I had a sitter, but that I was doing this. I was tired of putting myself off. I didn't care if it wasn't a convenient time.
"Ok, we'll figure it out. I'm glad you're getting over there".
As it happens, I did get a sitter. I found my racquet, my shoes. I bought some new clothes that (ahem) fit a little better than the last time I played. I'm a little nervous that I'll have completely forgotten everything, but I'm excited to get started on something for me.
I put my food down.
And that foot is wearing a tennis shoe.