Tonight was Sweet Pea's soccer night. This afternoon was another scorcher. I'm glad Emery's soccer started at 7:30pm this time. The tight traffic leaving the soccer fields usually makes the evening a late one. But the air cooled off a bit when the sun went behind the trees and it was pleasantly comfortable. All eight of Emery teammates showed up tonight. I think it is the first time the whole team has been there since the first practice. Her team is showing signs of improving too. They are starting to spread out on the field a little. Usually, all the girls on the field collapse to the ball and follow it around the field as a group. Tonight a few of the girls hung around the group waiting for the ball to squirt out. Toward the end of the scrimmage, I think a few of the girls were spreading out because of exhaustion. They started walking toward the ball instead of running. But other than that, they all showed a lot of improvement and, as usual, had a lot of fun.
I also had a pleasant surprise from Number One Son. Those of you who know Ethan, know that he has a difficult time starting and maintaining friendships with his peers. It's hard work for him and we usually have to encourage and coach him about how to act. He usually doesn't go up to kids on his own and start playing.
Tonight, as Emery started soccer, Ethan asked if he could explore a treeline next to the soccer field. I could keep an eye on him so I said OK. A few minutes later I noticed that he was talking to two boys close to his age. This is when we usually start to feel a little nervous about how he will interact. I let him alone and watched Emery's soccer some more. A little later all three boys were intently examining something they were holding. I found out later that it was just some berries they had found in the woods. The important thing, however, was the fact that Ethan was doing something with his peers and was involved in the project. Many times he is an observer and doesn't participate. But tonight I observed him conversing with the boys and contributing to what they were doing. It felt good to not worry so much about Ethan's behavior. It made me think that he is learning and eventually he will be able to apply what he has learned towards persuing his own friendships. Later the boys found bugs, tried to start a fire banging stones together and played a small game of soccer amongst themselves.
Tonight both kids showed me how they are growing and improving. Emery is learning a team sport, improving her coordination and getting exercise. She is also making friends but that is usually easier for her. Ethan showed he could initiate a friendship and be an active participant. Tonight was a good night. These are the nights that let you know why you are a parent.