I hold THESE truths to be self-evident...
There are certain things when you reach your mid-thirties, that you realize about yourself. Certain understandings for which you find a way to make peace inside. God gives us all gifts in this life, and it is up to us to find those gifts and do with them as best we can while we're on the planet. We cannot be great in everything. We are lucky if we are very good in one or two things in life, actually.
I am a decent writer. I am very diplomatic and am good at bridging gaps and making peace between people. I am a very loyal friend. I can diffuse tense situations with my self-deprecating humor. I make a mean lasagna. And, I cannot play tennis.
You know, tennis? That friendly and innocent little sport with the yellow ball? Dignified, and even stylish, refined and respected...tennis--the sport with the cute little to-die-for skirts?
If you know me, you might think the sport of tennis has my name written all over it. I am fairly athletic, and usually at least average in most sports that I try. I have the yams to be able to wear the short skirts even. No cellulite here! I would look great in a ponytail and visor, if I do say so myself!
These thoughts had to have been rattling around in back of my pre-teen and teen aged brain when I used to spend summer after summer attending tennis camps, sometimes in groups and sometimes in private lessons. I wanted to be good at tennis. I wanted that to be my thing.
It was not.
After several years in a row of trying, I gave up and walked away shrugging. Never quite accepting that I was not going to one day rule the courts. I put my dreams on hold instead for games with larger balls, like basketball and volleyball. But, the outfits were not NEAR as cute and I still longed for the day I could play tennis.
It was the same way with playing the piano. Only, add in more agonizing practices, a few embarrassingly bad recitals, and many more wasted years of lessons.
Recently, my son started taking piano lessons and we got him a great keyboard. I have found myself many a time playing through his beginner book songs with the confidence of a young Chopin or Rachmaninov. And, when I finished the last song in the book, which...gasp...actually required two hands, my son clapped for me. Oh, what a feeling to master that beginner piano book!
So, tonight, when my son begged us once again to go to our neighborhood tennis courts, we decided to give it a whirl. Carrying our three rackets with my daughter's scooter, we found an empty court. And, I took a swing for old times' sake.
And, I missed. Not just by a little either, mind you. You could hear the whoosh of the air as my racket came no where near to the ball.
Suddenly, a wave of embarrassment came over me as I looked around to see if the young couple playing two courts over saw me. I swear I could see a muffled smirk on their faces, but maybe I misread things.
Never mind that I am VERY rusty, I thought. So, my husband lobbed me on, and I swung. This time a connection was made! I hit the ball with all of the passion of Anna Kournekova without the grunt or the great hair (or the Enrique Iglesias, for that matter...sorry hon'...). And the ball went soaring....and soaring...and soaring...right over the fence.
My next volley, right into the net. Another attempt, out of the park. And, again, a strange one that went almost straight up in the air for some reason.
And, that's when my daughter's beckoning call to go to the nearby slides was answered. I left the court with my tail between my legs and head hung low, waving off my husbands offer to watch our daughter and let me play with my son.
Man, that was embarrassing, I thought. As I climbed up on the fort slide with my daughter, I looked over at my husband and son with envy. My son was actually connecting with the ball and getting it back to my husband after only a few minutes of practice. The child has never played before and he was already showing me up on the courts! This was great! Perhaps I should get him in lessons right away! What if somewhere down the line, all of those lessons made an unseen impact on my very genetic makeup, which in turn was then passed down through my bloodline to someone who can actually USE the information to their success?
Oh, it was all too much to imagine! The life of a tennis star's mom! I mean, if I couldn't wear the little cutesy socks and skirts on the court, I could wear the sophisticated yet sporty spectator wear while my son dominates the courts with style and grace! Folks would obviously look to my husband and me. Perhaps they'd assume that I, like Tiger Woods' father, was the one who tapped into my son's talent at a young age, passing on my great skill and knowledge and making him the wonder of tennis that he was today. Yes, I am quite sure that might happen, actually
Suddenly, I'm realizing how very easy it is to become one of THOSE parents. You know, the ones who live out their own dreams through their kids? The ones who show up to all of their kid's games with a notebook of the entire teams' stats and rush out on the court/field at inappropriate times to hand out orange slices and water bottles?
Yeah, I'd better stick with the piano after all...next stop, Beginner's Book II!