A couple of weeks ago, I announced to my girl lacrosse players at Corona Del Mar High School that this coaching year would be my last. I actually made the decision in the summer but wanted to wait to let the girls in on my little secret. I have been coaching lacrosse at Corona Del Mar High School for ten years. I almost can’t remember a time when I wasn’t coaching lacrosse. Surprising how fast a decade can fly by. I started coaching when I was single, straight out of graduate school; now I have two babies and will be celebrating my five-year wedding anniversary.
I have experienced many sweet moments these closing weeks as I said goodbye to rival coaches, athletic directors and refs with whom I have interacted for years. This Wednesday, one particular ref announced during the pre-game coin flip that he’d heard the “news” and wanted to wish me good luck on my next adventure. It wasn’t until after the game we were able to talk in more detail, and he gave me the sweetest compliment. He said years ago one of my players was not handling the emotions of the game, and a timeout was called to address the issues. He recalls I took the player out of the game and encouraged her to apologize to him after the match. He then continued, “It has been an honor to ref your games. Not all coaches would have done that.” I was thankful he took the time to reflect on such a memory with me. But then…oh, but then…he added, “And congrats on your pregnancy… is it your 3rd?” Oh-my-gosh, it actually happened…my post-belly pouch was so convincing he was confident enough to throw out a congrats! Although completely embarrassed, I confidently smiled and answered, “Oh, this is just a post baby belly.” Awkward. Even now as I recount the event, I can feel the flush. Driving home, I replayed the uncomfortable moment in my head. Man, I can’t wait to get enough sleep so I can actually have the energy to start working out and exercising again.
It is ironic one of Be Better Movements mottos states, “We believe that only once you start caring for yourself will you have the energy to care for the world.” I know I won’t be able to be a good wife or mother if I do not start investing time and energy into my selfcare. I believe this statement to be true; unfortunately, my reality is far from this truth.
To reiterate the point, this week I ambitiously decided to tackle potty training with Cooper and sleep training with Clark. Both of these incredibly important tasks are emotionally taxing and time consuming, so this week's #bebetter52 challenge has been difficult. I have been so consumed in watching Cooper’s naked little tush running around the house as I try to spot the first dribble of pee running down her leg, that it has been nearly impossible to notice anything else, especially opportunities to pay it forward.
I have been trying to follow the advice of Jamie Glowacki exactly as outlined in her book Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right.The book gives an option to not nighttime train, which we decided was best since Cooper still sleeps in a crib. Why I am telling you this? As we were putting Cooper to bed two nights ago, we suddenly realized we were out of diapers. I couldn’t find a spare anywhere. Super frustrated I had to leave the house and run to Target, I jumped in the car and tried to beat every stoplight on the way there. Once I’d purchased my size 6 pack of diapers and some loose fitted boys’ toddler shorts (Coops is finding it hard to pull her pants down her cute chubby legs), I started speeding through the parking lot. Barely noticing, but also not really caring, I saw a man crossing the parking lot. I could have stopped but didn’t think I had to because of the distance between us, so I just kept speeding on. Let’s just say, I did not make his day better. The moment I saw his body language in my rear view mirror, I remembered this week’s challenge to pay it forward. It was an eye-opening reminder the world doesn’t revolve around my busy schedule, and I need to SLOW DOWN and notice other people’s needs.
The next day while meeting Be Better Intern Emilee for our bi-weekly meeting at Starbucks at the circle in Orange, I decided to stop and notice the people around me. Normally, Starbucks’ employees are super friendly and talkative, but this particular woman was not having a good day. I asked if I could possibly pay for someone’s drink behind me (which at that moment was no one). She pretty much told me I could only do it in drive through Starbucks. So instead, I bought a $5 gift card and told her to choose who to give it to. She wasn’t totally amused, but as I sat down waiting for my egg white and spinach wrap, I saw a man’s face light up when he received the good news that $5 off his bill had been gifted to him. She even mentioned it was National Pay it Forward week. Mission accomplished.
It has been fun since my rushed moment in the parking lot to search out opportunities to pay it forward. I decided to treat my lacrosse team to donuts at our once-a-year traditional 6am practice. I woke up extra early to head to the donut shop in the dark to pick up 1 dozen maple bars and 6 glazed/chocolate ones. While standing alone in the dark outside the window, I noticed a disheveled homeless man talking to himself as I walked toward me in the parking lot. I was aware I was alone and he was approaching. Within five minutes, four other people stood in line behind me, and the homeless man, now sitting on a bench, appeared less threatening. Carrying my box of 18 donuts, I thought about offering him a donut, but I hesitated. While I stood there debating, this jolly older gentlemen turned to the man and asked him if he wanted a coffee and donut. The homeless man grinned from ear to ear and announced a firm YES. I felt privileged watching a random act of kindness from a stranger more confident than I. So instead, I gifted the left over donuts from practice to our amazing neighbors, the Todds.