Youth sports tends to overwhelm me.

You guys, youth sports tends to overwhelm me.

Growing up, I wasn’t in sports. And if you’ve ever seen me attempt to hit a softball you’ll see the truth in that statement and feel the urge to pat my back while telling me, “It’s okay; sports aren’t for everyone.” But I never wanted my kids to feel that complete ineptness on the baseball diamond/soccer field/basketball court, and since Hubby has fond memories of playing sports year around, we signed up our kids for Augusta Youth Sports as soon as they were old enough.

That meant two-a-week practices plus games. Which also meant an early dinner so that the child’s food could somewhat be digested before running in the heat (t-ball/soccer), or running in the heat of your own making (basketball).

And on those evenings we had practices--two/week/kid, with two kids playing, which meant three nights of practices since LUCKILY one night of practices overlapped--I did not want to leave the house when my family was all together for a short time, which meant the full, weekly trip to the grocery store was basically put on hold for three months.

Some of you are awesome and can take your toddlers to the grocery store, but I am not awesome; I stress each time she touches a box to “helpfully” put it in my cart, I stress when she wants to walk like a big girl down the aisle but undoubtedly gets tangled in my cart or the cart of a stranger. And so, no, I don’t take my toddler to the grocery store for anything more than a quick run of milk. Which means I usually go to the grocery store without said "helpful" toddler, when I can leave her at home with the hubster. Which means during ball season our dinners are often haphazardly thrown together, scrounging whatever I can from the fridge and making those ingredients into something that resembles a meal.

NOW, my husband has heard my complaints, as have my friends, my parents, my sister. And you’d think that maybe we’d refrain from signing up our kids for yet another round of sports this spring, but you guys, games are so fun. Watching my son--who last year was happy to let the ball fly past him--fight for the basketball and make the first points in three of his team’s games is FUN. And watching my sweet daughter watch that soccer ball and know exactly when to race toward it to help out a teammate is FUN. I love watching their minds develop to know when and how to help their team.

All those nights of hurriedly throwing dinners together and rushing kids to and fro during the week is all worth it once my kids enjoy their respective game and learn from it and come up to me beaming once it’s finished.

So we’ll sign up our kids for ball this spring. And then we’ll take a teeny break and sign them up for soccer (her) and football (him). And then a teeny break before basketball. And one of these days Baby Chickadee will be a big help at the store, just as her brother and sister grew to be, and dinners will come together easier on practice nights. And all the craziness will have well been worth it.

Erin Fox is a weekly columnist for the Augusta Gazette.