Sunday, 15 December 2013

The weight of responsibility for a single parent

I took my youngest son, 11, to rugby practice today.  It was his last session; although he's a tall and broad boy, so apt and seemingly perfect for the sport, he hates it.  He hates getting dirty, hates the shouting and the testosterone, hates the prospect of getting hurt.

And so I stood on the sidelines in the rain watching him and his team mates playing against a side that were so rough and dirty, they made me want to stride onto the pitch and punch the lights out of every single one of them.

I am not given to hurting little boys, but when an eleven year old punches another eleven year old in the face, breaks his nose, laughs and walks off - your whole body screams with revenge.

And when a scrum falls over and you see a boy from the opposing team stamping with full on studs on another boy's twisted knee, and then you hear this boy's shrieks that he cannot cope with the pain, that his knee is on fire, and he is writhing in agony - you feel the desperate need to impale Stud Boy with the tip of your umbrella.

My son was also at the bottom of this scrum and at first I thought the shrieks were his.  I wanted to step in and throw all the boys off, to see if I could literally get to the bottom of it, to uncover my boy, to comfort him and shield him and somehow make him better.

It wasn't him.  But seeing the pain in this boy's eyes, and the shock and hurt in his father's eyes, made me cry.

And tonight.  I have put my boys to bed.  But my youngest has a bad headache; he never has a headache, so surely this means that he got a knock in the match, and now has a blood clot?  Or perhaps he has meningitis?  Or a tumour?

The weight of responsibility, when you are the lone adult, weights heavy.

It is 11.30pm.  I will go and check that he is still breathing.


  1. I still check my kids are breathing every night, with or without rugby,

    Just in case.

  2. Sounds absolutely awful. Afraid I am the original helicopter parent, would not have been able to restrain myself. Still don't totally get rugby. Boy seems to enjoy it...but the rules (if there are any) have always puzzled me.


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