As fall comes to an end I look back to the past few months in amazement and with a smile on my face. Jax, Sadie, CJ and I rocked football, 2 volleyball leagues, a soccer league and a softball league! I was able to help coach 2 of their teams and the time that we were able to spend together was priceless! Admittedly, there were nights that I definitely did not have a smile on my face. More than once we returned home from a full afternoon and evening of games and practices sometimes after 9 PM with everyone looking at me and asking what’s for dinner? But the joy and happiness that I felt and shared with my kids is irreplaceable.
Watching Jackson return a kickoff for a touchdown, hurdle a defender or turn a broken play into a score were some of the best days a father could experience. He played most of the skill positions at some point during the year and he did them all well. Not sure where his speed come from, it must be a trait that skips a generation. He did whatever his coaches asked him to do and was a team leader. He never quit, played and practiced tough which inspired his teammates to be better. We were fortunate to be able to play with Coach Adams and so many great kids. Kids that were stars on the football field and I have no doubt that they are and will continue to be stars in life.
Sadie is such a beautiful young woman. She’s smart, funny, and creative. We can now add a killer volleyball player to her list of talents. She played and practiced with 2 teams this year and improved so much. Her serves are money! She’s a great teammate that encourages the girls around her and wants to learn about the game and improve. Watching her serve 5 in a row makes definitely brings a smile to my face. She reminds me of Gabby Reece the world class volleyball player turned super model from the 90’s.
Cutest Group of 7 Year Olds
I can confidently say that CJ’s soccer team, the Leprechauns, was the absolute cutest group of 7 year old girls on the planet! I love these girls. Practices usually consisted of dance competitions and group hugs. We didn’t win many games but the one that we did win the girls were beaming. The treats tasted better and there was a spring in their steps. CJ shined in that game scoring 3 goals (1 was disallowed :)). She’s usually one of the smallest kids on the field but she works hard and runs fast and loves competing and being part of a team.
All these good times came at a bit of a price. Family Home Evening was replaced with one of the activities above and scripture reading at night was very hit or miss (mostly miss). Thankfully we were able to pray together each night. I’m reminded of a talk from the November, 2007 session of General Conference LDS Apostle, Dallin H. Oaks addressed the conference in a talk titled, “Good, Better, Best”. In this talk Elder Oaks reminded us that even good things aren’t always the best choice.
“The amount of children-and-parent time absorbed in the good activities of private lessons, team sports, and other school and club activities also needs to be carefully regulated. Otherwise, children will be overscheduled, and parents will be frazzled and frustrated. Parents should act to preserve time for family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, and the other precious togetherness and individual one-on-one time that binds a family together and fixes children’s values on things of eternal worth. Parents should teach gospel priorities through what they do with their children.”-Dallin H. Oaks
Interesting to me that Elder Oaks knew 8 years ago that this would be a challenge for our family this past fall :). And even with this warning I still feel a little blindsided by all those activities. As good as it felt to be a part of our kids accomplishments on the field/court how much better will it feel to watch them serve missions, accept callings and make sacred covenants in the Temple? I’m so proud of Jace and Shelby for choosing to be married in God’s Temple and for Jace’s decision to serve a mission in Wisconsin. Those choices blessed their lives and our family. They are great examples to their younger brothers and sisters.
We miss Portia every minute of every day but our Father in Heaven makes that pain bearable and he provides a way for us to move forward. When we think that we can’t continue the path we’re on he buoys us up, collectively and individually and I’m grateful for that and recognize his strong, gentle hand in our lives. Our lives are blessed by wonderful family, friends and neighbors and I want each of you to know how thankful we are for you kindness, love and support.
Your example and encouragement help me to see the best decisions not just good ones.