“He’s at a great age for swim lessons.”
It’s one thing to hear such a statement from a stranger, but it’s another when the voice belongs to your three-year-old son’s pediatrician.
Truthfully, I had been preparing myself for this for some time. After all, older, more experienced parents have been warning me since pregnancy: “Just wait until the activities start.”
And now, it seems, the time has come, and the question is felt from all sides.
In which activities will we enroll our children?
The landscape, of course, has changed considerably since I was a child. And, even then, finances (we had little) and access (rural life) prevented real options from presenting themselves.
But it’s 2016, and a child’s activities have become a social status marker. For our family, the money is available, but our willingness to share of our free time simply isn’t.
Just recently, I had the opportunity to connect with friends over a beautifully rare childfree dinner. At one point, I found myself unable to add to the conversation. The topic of discussion? Toddler sports. The number in which our children participate? Zero.
It was odd, really, but I had never considered recreational activities as social capital. But it makes sense. Those you see on and off the field or at pick-up and drop-off become a community of sorts, and – in full disclosure – that sounds pretty freakin’ attractive.
Only, my husband and I still – beyond all rationality – strive for family dinners…at the table…in our home. And dessert is, perhaps, sweetest of all: chasing our children through the yard.
For now, we have elected to invest inward.
But we look ahead to music lessons, sporting events, and extracurriculars with the hopes that our careers will increasingly allow freedom in the years to come – that we will be wise in choices involving our kids’ time.
The swim lessons, I must admit, aren’t currently a top priority. And perhaps our children will forgive us one day.
For in those years where the options were endless, we chose them.