Yesterday was a perfect day in Catonsville, and I spent it the way I spend most of my fall Saturdays. I got up, made pancakes for such of the brood as wanted them, rounded up soccer uniforms, and delivered my boys to their three soccer games, watching at least half of each. The Bedell boys were 2-0-1 on the day. Ben, who is nearly 6, has after four games figured out what he is supposed to do, and he scored his first goals. Because he is the biggest kid in his class and has hardened himself in battle with his older brothers, I thought he would be an instant star in U-6 soccer, but at first he found the struggling packs of boys alarming. "They're maniacs!" he said after his first game. But now he loves it and only wants to play more. Clara, who is 3, was with me through all of it, running along the sidelines and charming bored parents in her delightful way.
One of the most striking things to me about my children is how outgoing and social they all are. Sociability seems to have skipped a generation and passed to them directly from their grandfathers, skipping their shy, nerdy parents. I suppose, though, that there is always time for them to change. My elder daughter Mary seems to have gotten a little shy around strangers lately, although this could be part of her new Goth pose. Meanwhile, though, none of my children exhibits even a tenth of the anxiety I felt especially around strange grown-ups. I remember sitting in the dining hall with a couple of my college friends as we wondered what we would do if we had normal, outgoing, athletic children. Funny how life throws these unexpected little things at you, and how easy it can be to adapt.
To get back to my day: in the afternoon Clara and I went to the library, and then I spent some time in the garden. I love my garden in the fall. In the spring I am always full of energy to plant and weed, and it usually looks great. Then in the heat and drought of the summer it usually gets tired, especially when we are gone on vacation. But then in the fall it perks back up again as the Cosmos and mums come into bloom and the zinnias surge with color. Then I had a swordfight with three children, did some laundry, read the news, and by then it was time to cook dinner.
It was a great day.