Regret and Disapointment

by Duke Pasquini on October 7, 2013

14594527-soccer-ballI volunteered to take my grandson, Lucca, to soccer today.  He was excited.  Wendy dropped him off at our house around 8:30.  I was just getting out of the shower and figured we had plenty of time because practice started at 10:00

I said something to him about cooking bacon and potatoes for breakfast.  He wanted bacon and an English muffin.  We both ate and I got him to the soccer field at 9:55 only to see the children finishing up and getting stamps on their hands.  My heart dropped.  “Lucca, I think we’re  late.  I thought practice was at 10:00.”  Disappointment washed over him as he wilted like an unwatered flower.

He’d put his shoes on the wrong feet at the house and let me quickly change them back with a look that said he hoped I was wrong.  He grabbed my hand and we walked the thirty yards to the open gate.  The coach greeted him by name and asked him if he wanted to kick the ball into the goal.  Lucca gave a quiet, “yes.”    The coach blocked the first two kicks before letting Lucca kick the ball into the goal.  He patted him on the head.  “Good job, Lucca.  You can even kick with both feet.”  Despite the complement, Lucca stood, clothed in disappointment.  I suggested we kick the ball around.  He ignored me and looked up at the coach and asked, “Can I have a stamp?”

The coach said, “Of course, Lucca.”  He grabbed the pad and stamped both hands.  Lucca said thanks, but still had a lost defeated look hanging over him.  It made me sad.  I kicked the ball and suggested we kick the ball around and all he said was, “I want to go home.”

I know it was only a soccer practice, but I think I felt as sad as Lucca, maybe even more so.  He wasn’t mad though.  I’d have to call it acceptance, which is the last state of grief.

Lucca gave me a big hug when I dropped him at home.  He was so loving and forgiving.  And as I drove away, I got tears in my eyes.  I felt I’d failed him.  It reminded me of a similar incident that happened with my dad when I was in the fourth grade.  I wrote about it it my book, A Warrior’s Son.  It follows:

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The Kite

explorer-box-kiteI was reminded of a time when I was in the 4th grade and my dad and I spent weeks making a box kite that would see its first flight in a kite-flying contest on the soccer field at Mark Twain Elementary. Judging would be on design and flight. We worked on it a little each day. He showed me how to cut the wood, glue the sticks together, wrap and glue the paper, always telling me we had to keep it light.

I thought we’d never get it done in time. We did, but it wasn’t until the Friday before the contest, There wasn’t any time to give it a test flight. It didn’t bother my dad, but it bothered me.

I was up and ready to go at 7:00 AM, even though we didn’t have to be at the field until 8:45.

 

“Come on Dad. Hurry. I don’t want to be late.”

He gave me a calm smile. “Relax Mutt. It’s going to be fine.”

We got in the car around 8:30. I held the kite on my lap, checking to make sure all the parts were snug. The school was about four miles from our house, but it seemed like fifty. My heart was pounding when we pulled up in front of the school around 8:45 and found it deserted.

“We’re probably early,” my dad said.

There were a few clouds in the sky. There hadn’t been a wind, but a strong breeze blew in as we stood there. It was going to be a great day to fly kites.

I looked up at my dad. “Shouldn’t somebody be here?”

He pursed his lips and squinted. “Seems like it.”

We sat on the grass and made sure the string wasn’t tangled and the tail snug. We waited and waited until 9:30 AM, but no one showed.

“Maybe we have the wrong time,” I said.

He shook his head.  “Looks like  we have the wrong day.”

I stood up. “Wrong day? How could you do this to me?”

“It was a mistake,” he said.

I plopped back on the ground. “A dumb mistake.”

I expected him to scold me for talking to him that way, but he calmly said, “I’m sorry,” as if that would make it all right.

My heart sunk. The disappointment was greater than the anticipation. My dad stood and looked at me with sad eyes. I looked up at him. There wasn’t any hint of his perpetual smile. I started crying and he stood there looking helpless for a few moments.

“I’ll take care of this,” he said as he picked the kite up and grabbed the string. He ran toward the other end of the field, pulling the kite behind him until he stood alone in the middle of the field, our kite flying. I wiped my eyes and got up and ran to him. He handed me the string. The kite pulled hard. “Dad, the string’s going to break.”

“It won’t. Just hang on and let more string out.

There was something about the pull of the string that made me feel tied to the earth like the kite to the string. I looked up at the kite and then at my dad. We both smiled. “Dad, this is awesome.”

The kite soared and there wasn’t any doubt in our minds that it would have won the day, if it had been the right day. We stayed there for thirty or forty minutes, just Dad and me flying that kite. It was a perfect day.

This post was written by...

– who has written 110 posts on The Pasquini Family Blog.

The author is a retired teacher and principal. He is currently working as adjunct professor and an assessor of new teachers. He was a football and track coach and is currently writing fiction. His latest book is A Warrior’s Son which can be bought through him at http://deweypasquini.com or at a more expensive price at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Xlibris.

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