The day my breath killed a timeout

Several of my friends are posting on Facebook the changes they have been going through since their children left for college. To help them cope, today I start reflecting on some of the things I have learned from my children.

When my daughter, Carolina, was in 8th grade (she is in her mid 20’s now), I coached her in both basketball and volleyball. Don’t ask me how I ended up coaching basketball. The school must have been desperate. Shhh… I checked all the books out that had anything to do with basketball from the public library and to this day I still don’t know what pick and roll is!

Anyway, in one of our games, a critical game for our team, I called a time out and was explaining a play. We were in the huddle and the climate was intense. All eyes were on me, the coach. Suddenly, Carolina looked at me and said, loudly: “Dad!” I stopped what I was doing and said, “What?” And she finished, “You have bad breath!” End of time out. Everybody was laughing… I mean everybody, including the parents sitting behind us in the gym. I just motioned them to get back into the court and turned to the audience, sheepishly: “Does anybody have any gum?”

That day I learned that we are never “off” being parents to our children and they are never “off” being our children. They can interrupt a lecture, abruptly end a meeting or reveal to the world that you need some help with your dental hygiene.

Some people bring little ones into the world and think that after the labor, they can go back to the old life they used to have. Nothing could be further from the truth. Parenthood is forever and even though we definitely want our children to become independent, there is a sense in which they never leave you. And I for one am glad for that.

And since that day a piece of gum is never too far away. Thanks, Carolina!

Ivanildo C. Trindade