I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon bowling with Husband and Daughter, which went surprisingly well considering my previously mentioned lack of grace. I didn’t break or pull anything new, only slightly upset my now perpetually at least moderately sore back, and only accidentally threw the ball backwards once. Overall a very positive experience. We laughed a lot, mostly at me directly, and had lots of high fives and celebrations of our use of the bumpers. I decided that, since I was no master of actual bowling, that I would combine my knowledge of vectors and use the bumpers to my advantage in order to actually knock down some pins. Showing the truth of my amazing capabilities, trying to hit the bumpers made me miss them entirely almost every time.
At one point in the gaming, I was watching as Husband tried to help Daughter with proper form and release of the ball. This is when I realized that I had absolutely no idea how to actually throw the ball. I started from the right area, and I moved in the proper direction, but always landed on the “wrong foot” when it came time to release. This made it more difficult for my body to work together as a single unit and have one fluid motion. I pointed this out to Husband, who then tried to help me fix it. I was beginning my walk toward the ally with the wrong foot, it seemed, and he was trying to get me to use the correct one. This doesn’t sound very hard at all; step with right instead of left. No big deal, just do it. It didn’t go well. Let me tell you, Husband is amazing in a lot of ways. Even when he aggravates me, I am grateful to have him. He’s funny and wickedly smart. He’s handsome, a pleasure to talk to, rational, one hell of a cook, and I cannot imagine a single day without him in it. He’s also honest, and cannot hide the truth even to spare my feelings. After I tried that ill-fated attempt to correct my form, he couldn’t stop chuckling. His actual words were, “It was like I could see your butt thinking.”
“You could see my butt thinking? What does that even mean?”
“It was like your muscles didn’t know what to do. There was this battle trying to figure it out.”
That was when I started to wonder why it is that we just go at these games without really knowing what to do. We go rent special shoes and throw ten pound balls around. We grab cues and chalk and try to knock balls into holes without anyone really showing us how. We grab racquets or lace up our running shoes and go for it. How absurd it is to allow someone to do something without really helping them to know how to do it properly! People can get hurt (the player, the teammate, the opponent, the bystander) because we have no clue how to properly manage this game. That is why we have training to do things like drive, shoot, run the software at our job, teach children, etc. It’s why you have a coach to train you when you are on a team for these activities and sports. You know, the things that are important and have consequences.
Except for parenting.
No one shows you how to parent. No one tells you when your form is off, when you should be releasing from further back, when to get a different ball. So you do your best and you use all you’ve got to try and knock down the pins. You promise yourself that you will do everything you can to get it right for your kid. You try and you fail and you try some more. Some things work, some things don’t, but you never give up because you know that your kid deserves every ounce of effort you have. We’re on the same team, all of us, parents or not. We work together to form this village they say it takes to raise our kids and we rely on each other. Remember that when you’re out there and feeling frustrated. We were never taught what to do, no one showed us the correct way to twist in order to get a strike. It’s all trial and error, so we will understand each other’s struggle and make it completely ok that sometimes, if only for the briefest of seconds, the world can see your butt thinking.