21 Mar Whose Child is this Anyway? Part 2 The Rearview Mirror
Jane Reynolds was driving quickly to get Jack to his soccer game. As the last red light turned green, Jane said, “Jack, today how about thinking about what you are doing on the field?”
Jack was touching the slippery fabric of his soccer shorts with his fingers. He dreamily nodded at his mother in the rearview mirror.
They arrived at the soccer field as children in a variety of colored shorts and team shirts were joining their teams. Jane saw Jack kneeling to blow a dandelion’s fuzzy little head.
“Come on Jack, you have to focus. You are at the soccer field.”
Jack dawdled over to where his team was. Coach Tom said, “Hey buddy, you look ready to make a goal!”
“Jack, that would be so nice,” Jane chimed in. “Daddy will be here soon.”
The players got into their positions. A ball came right to Jack. He kicked it in the wrong direction. Jane was nonplussed. She was thinking, “Are you kidding me? Why do you get private lessons if this is how you are going to play? Your father is a tri-athlete. I’ve always been good at sports. Really! Whose child are you?”
Minutes later a determined little girl kicked a ball that whistled right by Jack’s head. He ducked, stumbled, and began to cry. The coach blew his whistle for a momentary stop to the game. He went to Jack and patted him on the back. After a minute, the game was back on. Jane was wringing her hands nervously. The coach shouted, “Let’s go, Cubs. We can do it. We still have time. We need a goal!”
Jane turned as she heard, “Jack, wake up out there!” It was Rob, her husband.
As Rob got closer, Jane said, “I don’t get it. He is totally somewhere else. He doesn’t focus on the game at all.”
“Not exactly a chip off the old block,” Rob answered.
The game continued with children running after the ball, and parents shouting encouragement. The ball came to Jack again and he kicked it weakly. A Bobcat snagged it, dribbled to the goal and scored. That ended the game. The teams lined up in opposite directions and all shook hands, repeating “good game, good game” to one another.
“Hi Daddy, did you watch me?”
“I did. Maybe with a little more practice you will make a goal.”
Jane walked ahead and opened the car door. “Hop in my little athlete!” She handed him a bottle of Poland Spring. Jack had a big gulp of water. As his mother buckled him in, she shook her head.
“See you back at the house,” called Rob.
On the way home, Jack asked to hear some music. Jane put on a radio station of top 40 hits and Jack perked up right away. Moving in his car seat, he sang a few words, smiling happily. Jane was surprised at how quickly he learned the words to the chorus.
When they pulled into the driveway, Jack asked, “Will you keep the music on, please?” Jane could see the sheer delight in his face. He was tapping and dancing and humming like mad. When Rob drove in, he saw Jack, still in his car seat, beating invisible drums as he sang the lyrics.
He called, “Let’s go in. We can still play music. I am hungry aren’t you?”
Jack ran in. “Mommy, Daddy said we can play music!” Rob was already loading a CD into the machine and the sounds of “Margaritaville” got Jack dancing. It was plain that he adored the music. Jack and Rob were really having fun, dancing through the down stairs as Jane made sandwiches.
At lunch, Jack asked, “Could I be a guy who plays music? I love it so much!”
Rob looked at Jane, whose expression had softened, remembering a set of drums she had years ago. After lunch, she got them up from the basement. They were perfect for Jack. In no time more songs were playing and Jack was tapping out a beat.
Jane said, “I loved drumming when I was little too.”
“We’ll have to show Jack some old movies of you drumming your heart out!”
Jane smiled at Rob. “Since you love to dance, maybe Jack got a double music gene.”
Later that week, Jane and Jack stopped in to the music shop to get him some new drumsticks. Mr. Petrone had owned the store for over thirty years.
“Like mother, like son?” he asked her.
“Maybe,” she answered, smiling proudly.
On the way home, Jane watched Jack in the rear view mirror. She saw a radiant little boy. She was so happy he was hers.
That night, Jane suggested to Rob that they cancel the soccer lessons for a while. “Let’s give him some open time to sing, dance and play the drums.”
“I’m all for that,” Rob agreed, smiling.
“Mommy, thank you! Thank you! Will you teach me to drum a little too?”
“Yes, honey, I will.”
“And Daddy will you dance?”
“Jack, I can’t wait!”
Written by: Anne Martine Cook, Managing Partner & Mom, with 35+ years experience teaching nursery school children.
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