Tag Archives: soccer mom

When I Chose to be Productive Instead of Present

Family WalkYesterday, my son had his last basketball training day for this summer. Just like in the previous summer, my son joined Complete Basketball Camp with San Beda Alabang coach James Tolentino. Two months of thrice-a-week training had come and gone, and yesterday was the last day, the culmination of all that effort. My son was nervous and excited to play.

I needed to make a quick side trip to the bank. I had placed an online order to replenish some of our health supplements. I wanted to make the payment and send the confirmation that morning with the hope that my order will be shipped before the end of this week.

When my son and I arrived at the basketball court, I told him that I would go on a quick errand and be back as soon as possible. Training would take about two hours, so I figured I would have plenty of time to get back before it ended.

I went to the BPI Family Bank branch that was two minutes away, only to find out that their ATM was offline. I drove to the nearest BPI Bank branch which was about 15 minutes away. To my dismay, I discovered that their ATMs didn’t issue receipts at that time (and I needed the receipt to email my payment confirmation). I had no choice but to queue up for a deposit over the counter. I think I spent about 20 minutes in the bank, and I was so glad when I could finally head back to my son’s basketball training.

As soon as I sat in my usual spot in the bleachers, I was so happy to catch my son make a beautiful lay-up shot! I thought of my arrival, “Perfect timing!” When he approached me at the end of that quarter for a water break, my son said, “Mom, I really wish you were here during our first quarter. I played really well, the best I’ve ever played. I made several shots. The bigger boys were even cheering for me. I really wish you had seen me play so well.” Wow, turned out I had lousy timing.

After the game, I asked him to tell me what happened during that first quarter, how many shots did he make. He replied,  “Maybe four or five. Some were long twos, close to the three-point line….But it’s not the same, Mom. I can’t really tell you with words…I just wish you had seen me.”

I broke my son’s heart when I chose to be productive instead of being present. And I don’t want to make that mistake again. I don’t want to repeat that indelible heartache of years ago when I had to stay overnight in the office to finish a client presentation, and I learned that my husband had to explain to our then two-year-old daughter why Mommy wasn’t coming home that night.

Yesterday, I tried to make it up to my son. I promised that when training starts again, I will be there. I promised to ask his coach how well he did during that magical first quarter, to know more about how he played his best game ever. And I made a promise to myself that when there is a choice, instead of prioritizing being productive, I will choose to be present.



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Soccer Mom Lesson No. 2: It’s Ok to Not Be Invincible

girls playing footballTomorrow will be my daughter’s first football tournament for summer 2014. It will also be her first tournament since she had her left distal radius fracture last January. Her cast was removed in February, but she was able to go back to training only four weeks ago.  She was really excited to get back in shape and to start playing football again.

When she went back into training, I did expect the coaches to not want her to play goalkeeper again. Naturally, they would be worried that she might get injured again. My daughter said she was fine, and she did play goalkeeper a few times during training sessions.  This summer though, there were more girls in training, including a few more experienced goalkeepers.  This gave my daughter more chances to be a field player.

I asked her if she was going to be goalkeeper during tomorrow’s tournament. She replied, “I don’t want to be goalkeeper now.  I’m afraid to block the ball. I’m afraid to get injured again.”


Till yesterday, I was ready to spend this coming Sunday at my daughter’s upcoming football tournament. I had prepared my mental checklist: water, sports drinks, snacks, sunblock, hat,umbrella, folding chair and Kindle. Early this morning, I came down with a bad case of stomach flu. Suddenly, I’m faced with the big possibility of not being able to go to my daughter’s football tournament. And I hate it. I hate that I couldn’t walk our dog this afternoon.  I couldn’t drive my kids to their play dates. I hate not being able to do my motherly duties.


Getting injured or falling sick can happen to anyone, to any athlete, to any mother. Healing, whether physical or mental, takes time. We must remember that it’s okay to be afraid and to need a break. Whether a young teenager or a middle-aged mother, it’s okay to not be invincible.


K's injured arm

Soccer Mom Lesson No. 1: Be Ready for the Hurt

Two days ago marked the end of my 6-week journey to what I consider being leveled up as a soccer mom. My teenage daughter K had her last appointment with her orthopedic surgeon.  Fingers crossed.

Six weeks ago, while playing goalkeeper during football training, K suffered a wrist fracture on her left arm, her first serious sports injury.  While we were in the hospital emergency room, the ice and splint must have done a pretty good job because she wasn’t feeling much pain. I had somehow convinced myself that it was just a sprain, and that the X-rays would confirm it.

I was so disheartened to be proven wrong.  When the doctor pointed out the all too obvious fracture in the X-ray, I was almost in tears. Then the medical jargon came.  Left distal radius fracture. There was a 16-degree angle, which meant that the bones were definitely misaligned. For her bones to heal properly, they had to be reset.

He discussed two options.  The first was a non-surgical procedure called closed reduction, where the bones are manipulated into normal position by pushing from the outside.  If, however, the bones go back to their misaligned position, a surgical procedure called percunateous pinning will have to be done. Metal pins will be placed to keep the bones in the correct position to heal. Either way, K will have to be treated in the operating room under general anesthesia. The doctor sounded very calm. It was an outpatient procedure, and probably common for children in contact sports. Maybe I didn’t have to be scared, but I was.

After two days, together with my husband, we were back in the hospital for the closed reduction procedure.  Only one companion was allowed in the prep room, so I went in with K. We tried to cope with the extreme coldness of the room with small talk.  It got worse for K when she had to change into a hospital gown. All I could do was drape my sweater over part of her body while she lay on the hospital bed.

After about half an hour, the operating room was ready for her.  As I took her things and left the prep room while she was being wheeled into the OR, for a brief moment, I allowed myself to feel scared and worried.  What if the bones snap back out of position, and surgery for pinning will be needed?  What if she has some unexpected adverse reaction to the anesthesia?  What if, what if, what if?

When I reached my husband in the waiting area outside the OR, my brave face was back on.  The distraction of grabbing a bite to eat and settling medical insurance helped me brush my fears aside.  The procedure took less than an hour, and soon she was in the recovery room.

With my daughter’s clothes in hand and blue shoe covers on my feet, I walked into the recovery room.  K was groggy, but fine.  Her left arm was heavy with her new cast.  I helped her get dressed.  We said thank you and goodbye to the very nice OR staff. We settled the bill and were finally on our way home.

Four weeks after the cast was set, it was freedom day!  X-ray was clear; pain was nonexistent. We were sent back to the OR prep room, but this time in high spirits. There wasn’t even a need for a hospital gown or shoe covers. The doctor came in with his cast cutter, and in five minutes, K’s left arm was free! The timing couldn’t be better because that night, she was able to dress up and dance at her learning center’s family event without her cast!

K’s last follow-up appointment with her orthopedic surgeon was two days ago.  He just wanted to make sure that her bones healed well.  She didn’t feel any pain.  She could squeeze tightly with both hands. Her arm was back to normal. Now, K is slowly rebuilding her strength and endurance because she really wants to get back on that football field.

When my daughter first took up football a year ago, I thought that my duties and sacrifices as a soccer mom were only about paying for lessons, driving her around and being baked in the sun during tournaments. Now, I’ve learned that I have to be prepared to see her get hurt and to deal with the blows with unwavering support.

When we were walking out of the hospital after that final check-up, I told my daughter that I really hope that would be the last time we see that doctor (in a professional capacity, anyway). She replied, “Maybe. Unless, next time, it will be my leg.”