I have become a soccer mom. On Sundays I pull up in my minivan carrying my lawn chair, mini-cooler full of snacks, and upbeat attitude. I am thoroughly enjoying my weather permitting stint as a cliché.
As far as the children go, the rules for this league are simple: cleats are optional, so is skill. Shin guards are mandatory, but talent is mercifully not.
And so the games begin with a flurry of children running in random directions, all muddy and thrilled. In between plays my son comes over to me and recounts the play that has just occurred – did you see me??? Did you see my awesome block?? And it becomes quickly apparent that the game in which he is playing is not at all the same game that I am watching. As goalie, I watch him pick his nose and space out to the point of falling over. But according to him, he has stopped the ball 27 times and saved the whales in between plays.
This willful fabrication of events continues during my other son’s game. He proudly describes how he managed to impress the coach with his blinding speed and overall athletic prowess despite the fact his game had been cancelled on account of lightning. His coach had been intuitive enough to fully judge my boy’s talent as he ran in a panic toward the car.
Now you at home may be thinking that I am raising pathological liars. But I am certain that my children know fact from fiction. They seem to only confuse the two when their own budding egos are at stake. They are honest kids until the truth makes them feel kind of crummy about themselves, and then the whoppers grow ‘this big’.
But I’m kind of ok with their whitewashed adaptations of reality. In fact, I could use this sort of false ego boost every now and then. Think of how much happier we would be if we were all selectively delusional.
Boss: You’re fired! Your sloppy work has cost this company millions of dollars.
Worker: Gee, it is so nice to be appreciated! Thanks for the raise.
Doctor: You really need to lose some weight. You have gained 200 lbs. this past week!
Patient: Wow, I thought I was looking good, but hearing you confirm it really makes my day.
Coach: For the love of all that is sacred could you please take your finger out of your nose?
Player: All my practicing paid off. I knew you’d let me start, Coach! I won’t let you down.
You see the upside now, don’t you? But my kids’ brilliance resides in the fact that they not only fib to themselves, but they convince themselves to believe their own untruths. They are smart enough to lie to themselves, and dumb enough to believe the lies! Sheer genius! I am a proud soccer mama indeed.
And what really is the harm? They have the rest of their lives to deal with the fact that they will not be tall or ninjas. Let them have their fun, I say. And while we’re at it, did you see my mothering technique today? I was marvelous out there, simply marvelous.