October is over. And on a brief shopping excursion on Saturday, Nov. 1, I noticed with more than a little horror that the Halloween costumes that were placed on 75 percent clearance were right next to the brightly decorated Christmas trees, tinsel and holiday wreaths.
So it begins. The last two months of the calendar year, which go by faster than you can blink. There is so much to get done, family gatherings to plan, gifts to purchase, others to think of … this statistically is probably one of the most stressful times of the year, so my advice is to make sure to breathe and realize that there are only so many hours in a day, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t accomplish everything right this minute.
Before jumping in to the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s rush, I choose to take a step back and look at late September into October. It’s a period of time I most enjoy since it signals the real start to fall and, when I was growing up in New York, it was the time for the turning of the leaves, weekend trips to the woods with my family to cut wood for the fireplace (yes, we actually enjoyed doing that, it didn’t seem like work) and working with my dad on the cider press to make homemade apple cider.
This year, the end of September featured a weekend soccer trip to Santa Cruz with my daughter and her travel team and a few of us families went the beach house route, sharing the cost and the home for the weekend. It was a great time, the ocean was literally a block and a half away, it was less than a mile walk to the boardwalk and we had a real kitchen to cook in, not waking up to a hotel breakfast. So it was good. For the first time, though, we found ourselves without a championship game to play on Sunday afternoon (we finished third) so we opted for a trip to the boardwalk. There was a dance/cheer competition there that day and my daughter marveled at how crazy the parents were, with more than a bit of screaming going on and doing some ‘side stage’ coaching and encouraging. I thought, as crazy and over the top as she thought the cheer and dance moms and dads were, if they came to one of our soccer games, they would be saying the same things about us. All decked out in our ‘Oakdale Insanity’ matching sweatshirts, hollering, cheering, letting the refs know when we think they miss a call … dance or soccer mom, it’s all about supporting your child and wanting them to try their best.
My daughter’s soccer career is winding down; we have a couple more league games and hopefully another tournament or two … after a dozen soccer seasons it’s hard to believe it is coming to an end. So far this season the best memories have come in the unlikely places. Our girls battling through two overtimes and then getting a third place medal with a penalty kick shootout victory at a tournament in Dublin and then a road warrior battle where we went in with just nine players, finished the game with eight … and still came away with a 4-4 tie, playing a team that had the full 11 on the field and almost as many on the bench to use as substitutes.
Sometimes it isn’t about the outcome … it’s what you do to get there. In those games, our girls were the best they could be and we were some pretty proud soccer parents because of it.
Speaking of the best, October ended on a pretty happy note for me. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the San Francisco Giants be the best, taking the 2014 World Series over a very talented and tough Kansas City Royals team. It took seven games, which to me always lends to the excitement of the series. There are a couple of games I didn’t get to see all the way through, luckily they are DVR’d so they can be watched at my leisure. Maybe while I am cooking the Thanksgiving turkey or wrapping some Christmas presents.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.