I just love to watch you play!
That’s what I want my kids to know. That’s what I came for. Not to show you off. Not for bragging rights. Not even to celebrate when you win, although that’s nice when it happens. No, I came to the game because I love to watch you play.
We’ve been doing this a long time. It all began when you were brand new and had just discovered that your hands belonged to you. You opened and closed them, studying their every flex and flinch. When you saw that they could bat the toy, you were delighted. You did it over and over, ever amazed. I watched in awe as you played.
But you didn’t stop there. You rolled over, right and left. Wahoo!
You sat up all on your own and we both got a new perspective.
You rocked until you crawled. You pulled up until you stood.
You teetered until you stepped. You stepped and suddenly you ran.
Once you ran, there was no stopping you.
Now, you run out onto the field and I’m still completely amazed. Before you do anything at all with a ball, bat, glove or stick, you’re perfect. Of course, you are. You are still that miraculous little creature whom I have watched open your eyes to the world and your hands to everything thrown at you. Play is what brought us together. It’s something no one can take from us, except…
… that coach… she sits you on the bench and never puts you in. Well, nearly never. A few minutes here and there so those other kids can catch their breath. What’s so special about them? They’re not any better than you. You’re fast. You’re skilled. You’re aggressive. You can play anywhere. What’s that MATTER with that coach, can’t he see? He just doesn’t see you like I see you.
I’m sorry, that’s my alter-ego kicking in, or maybe I have caught what’s going around. Not illness or disease, now they are calling it a disorder: Delusional Parent Disorder. We are “parents who have false or unrealistic beliefs or opinions about our children even when confronted with the facts.” Every parent is susceptible.
Well, of course, we are. We’ve watched them, moment by moment, for years. It’s our job to see past the faults, to suspend disbelief, to think the best even if they’re the worst. But, lately, on the sidelines, our disorder is showing.
I’m told there’s no known cure, but behavior modification therapy is promising. We’ve tried:
Sit and be silent…. Um, no.
Only say, ‘Go Team!’…. Frankly, I’d rather be silent.
Keep everything positive…. Working on it.
Cheer for good plays made by both teams…..
Okay, I can do that, as long as my kid plays.
Playing time: the biggest point of contention on any team, anywhere. I love to watch my kid play. If she doesn’t get in, or if she hardly gets warmed up before she’s subbed out for the bigger kid, I’m angry. Please remember, I’m battling Delusional Parent Disorder. We all are. It comes with the territory. I guess the only parents who are truly delusion-free are the ones whose kids who will someday make it on the biggest stage. But today, who can really know? So for now, we’re all disordered. Coaches, assistant coaches, moms and dads – we’re all in recovery.
So, let’s begin again. “My name is Wendy and I have Delusional Parent Disorder.”
My kid is miraculous, exceptional, and astounding: I have proof in my baby books and in photos and highlight videos. I contracted DPD the day she was born, and I have never been the same since. There’s no known cure. But we can all enter recovery.
Repeat after me: “I just love to watch you play.”
And stop there. That’s enough for now. For forever. That’s all they need to know about why I come to the games.
So, put ’em in, Coach. I promise I’ll behave. Put your kid in, too. And that kid who picks flowers and the one who blows dandelions and the other who forgets which goal is his. Put ’em all in, Coach. They came to play. I just love to watch them all play.