So I knew what the mom of the little crybaby was going through. I thought, I guess it's just a phase. But is it, really?
As I stood there watching Owen dribble across the wet grass, I came upon the realization that we never really grow out of that phase. Children are just more transparent than adults. Aren't we all afraid of new social situations? Don't we all sometimes want to run into the comforting arms of someone we trust? Sure, for this kid the situation was a relatively innocuous game of soccer and the someone he trusted was his mommy, but what's the difference really?
How often do we leave something unsaid, avoid an awkward conversation, or sit around wondering what if because we failed to take a risk? How often do we go into a new situation without giving it a chance simply because it's different or uncomfortable? How many times do we look across the dew-covered soccer fields of our lives, see the scary coach that is our fears that we're not good enough, not smart enough, and gosh darn it, nobody likes us, and cry like little babies and run to the comfort of something we know is bad for us.
No, we're not much different than children. We're just much better at hiding it, hardened by what we mistakenly call growing up. What's the difference between the child pitching a fit in the grocery checkout line and the sports coach berating members of the media after a tough loss? Both of them are just upset they didn't get what they wanted. What's the difference between the child intentionally dragging her feet to avoid going to bed and the business woman who arrives late to avoid the awkwardness of being alone with a rival? Both are simply delaying the inevitable. And what's the difference between the child hiding his peas under the edge of his plate at dinner and the politician hiding his assets in an offshore account to avoid taxes? Both have proved themselves untrustworthy. What's the difference?
We are just children who have perfected hiding our emotions, masking them with other just as undesirable ones. We resort to passive-aggressive attacks, saying every negative thing we can think of but what we really mean. We may not stomp our feet anymore, but we think nothing of stomping on the hearts of others. Perhaps we never really grow up. Perhaps life is always just as scary as it was the first time we walked into a classroom and watched our mommies leave us there by ourselves. On our own. Alone. Perhaps we never do fully figure out our own feelings. Maybe we never get the point of life.
I know I haven't. But I'm still holding out hope that it's just a phase.