Andy has been a coach for four years.
When they first asked him to coach, assisting with Jude’s Catholic Youth Organization’s soccer team through our school, I was admittedly a little hurt.
I mean, Andy never even played soccer.
Not one single day in his life.
I played for years, through high school, and still do with a group of people as adults. Andy plays zero soccer.
Yet there he was, on the sideline with a clipboard, coach’s polo, and a damn whistle.
I’ll admit, it’s sexy as hell. Nothing gets me hotter than watching him pace the sideline during a game all pensive, or squatting down in the middle of a team going over plays on the dry erase board I got him for Christmas last year.
This year Andy is coaching 5th and 6th grade CYO soccer, U13 Boys travel Soccer, and 6th and 7th grade basketball.
It’s so many whistles and polos, you guys.
At the start of fall soccer, an assistant coach spot opened up on Gigi’s 3rd and 4th grade team, and finally, finally, it was offered to me.
I didn’t take it right away.
I mean there were some things to consider, like:
Would it work with our already demanding travel soccer schedule?
How would we handle two games happening at once between our kids?
Am I willing to give up my coveted midfield sideline spot? I just broke in my new collapsible chair and replaced my collapsible utility wagon with a new that had cup holders.
I took the job.
Alright, it isn’t a “job.” It actually pays nothing. It’s more of an indentured hobby or public service.
I showed up at practice in capri yoga leggings and whistle around my neck and stood next to the head coach totally ready to mold some young people into kick ass soccer players.
We lost out first game 9-2.
I stood on the sideline with a pen and made a list of every single essential soccer skill our children did not know.
Goal kicks, corner kicks, throw ins, and the oft-misunderstood, offsides.
Easy peasy. I knew all these things, and went into the next practice ready to cross them all off the ‘ole list.
Until I got to offsides.
Explaining offsides to 8 year olds is like explaining how snow tastes.
It was infuriating to explain something that made no sense, was even harder to simulate, and was boring as fuck.
Call after call after call. The refs howled “OFFSIDES.”
It was never ending, and I am on the sideline screaming “BACK UP” to the offense at every game but I can’t explain to them why, and “you just know it when you see it” worked with me in college identifying STDs, it doesn’t work with 3rd graders identifying when they are offsides.
You know what? I’m a terrible coach. I’m not calm, I’m not measured, and my expectations are wildly unrealistic.
And worse yet, I’m a horrible explainer. I don’t even do the kids’ homework with them, this should have tipped me off.
I used to be jealous of Andy’s accumulating trophies and newspaper articles, but now I just want my fucking collapsible chair and flip flops back.
I want my only obligation at those games to be that of cheerer and granola bar provider.
I actually have a point to this whole thing, sorry, consider this post 50% confession and 50% related to another important thing I have to do right now.
I have to talk to Gigi about periods.
Which is weird right, because she’s an infant who still watches Backyardagins, so why am I explaining periods to a definitely still baby only just started eating solids Gigi?
Because I was an early starter. Not counting that super early false start that was actually just my cocker spaniel going into heat in my bed.
Gigi is 8 and Google says you can expect first periods to come right around a year after a girl gets her buds.
Hold on folks, I just have to put my barely walking Gigi’s hair up into pig tails before definitely taking her to preschool which is something you do with your tiny still small children and not eight year olds with buds who has one of those not me.
This is something I really want to get right, but the problem is that explaining periods is like explaining offsides.
I know what a period is. I can see it and point to it. I can track it my Clue app, and stuff my body with Advil to cushion it.
I am versed in words like shedding and ovulation.
But explaining it to an 8 year old is surprisingly challenging.
Yes, it’s real blood like when you got a bloody nose.
No, it’s not the same as those kind of eggs.
Well, by every month, I basically mean every month until the end of the world.
And even more challenging is trying to get her to bypass all the embarrassment and confusion and burden periods can bring, that I rightfully carried for just over two decades of menstruation.
Sure, bleeding through to your pants during school is a rite of passage that goes back through my family for generations. My great grandmother’s mother’s sister was one of the first people to tie her Starter jacket around her waist when the OB applicator free tampon her hippie friend gave her leaked through to the back of her jeans in pioneer times.
I want to bypass all the medical terminology and technicalities and tell her how much she should revere her period.
How much I revere my period.
Yes, life would be easier and more affordable if I didn’t require Thinx underwear, menstrual cups and tampons. And I could do without the cramps radiating through my labia lips and the untimely period diarrhea.
But other than those things, my period basically makes me a god damned wolf.
I walk around bleeding shot glasses of blood and flesh every 28 days and I don’t die.
In fact, I’m doing it right now as I type this, and I did it earlier, when the pharmacy tech told me to smile while I was signing my credit card slip and I walked away without smiling or pulling my tampon out and putting on the counter in front of him.
I want her to know her period isn’t a secret or unique. Tampons do not need to be quietly passed between hands in public places. And menstruating is not a character flaw on a date.
But when she asks me things like, “Can’t my body just wait until I am older to start bleeding out eggs?” and “How much blood is going to come out of me?” and “How will I know it’s really coming?,” screaming BUT YOU’RE A WOLF doesn’t medically suffice.
So on the recommendation of almost every elementary school mom in my life, I bought a book, The Care and Keeping of You, and we’re reading it together so that we have the general anatomy of things down pat before the day the blood comes and I take her outside at midnight under a full moon and teach her how to howl and stain.
But mostly I assure her body will just know it when it sees it… like offsides.