Softball season just started.

I can’t wait for it to be over.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

It’s just that every new season brings with it a new set of routines. And once I settle into a routine, it’s hard for me to adjust to a new one.

Our kids aren’t over-scheduled. They’re just scheduled. There’s still time on the weekends for bike riding and Lego-playing and no one’s running out of time to complete their homework.

There’s a piano lesson here, dance classes there.

In the fall there was soccer. In the summer there will be day camp.

Now, it’s softball time. All of this is their choice – we’re big believers in not forcing any of our three daughters to participate in activities they don’t want to. And as much as I know I do better when I have a set schedule, I also know that many children (mine included) thrive on routine.

But my kids get excited when the seasons change, because they have a chance to start something new with a new group of friends. (Perhaps the social anxiety about meeting that new group of friends’ parents on the sidelines is one of my aversions to routine-changing…but that’s a story for another day.)

Already there are hints that next year might be different: perhaps more softball in the fall instead of soccer. I know dance never falls on the same day and time from year to year.

So part of me wants softball to be over already so we can relax a little in summer mode before we have to start all over again with a new routine in the fall.

Which leads me, as I clear away the snowpants and boots (speaking of routine changes, didn’t love having to use those in April this year), to think about when we brought them out and put away the soccer equipment at the end of the fall.

I remember, as the game day mornings turned colder in November, how I couldn’t wait for soccer season to end and for the sports season break the winter would bring.

Then I remember how I looked forward to the start of the fall. Less unstructured time for the kids, and if we’re being honest, more structured work time for me. Defined work hours (when the kids were in school) and less distractions (baseball season would be over).

And on and on it goes.

My oldest daughter will turn ten years old in the fall.

The fall of 2006 does not seem all that long ago.

I remember how much I enjoyed snuggling with the baby, but wondered what it would be like when she could talk and walk.

Then I wondered what it would be like when she could carry on a conversation. Then I wondered what it would be like when she started school. The same goes for her little sisters.

And I looked forward to the day when they would be more independent. And they would want to participate in different activities.

Like softball.

I worry that too soon it will be the fall of 2026 and my little girls won’t be little anymore.

There is so much to look forward to between now and then, so many routines still to be upset, so many activities to sit and enjoy.

Because that’s the thing about soccer season or softball season or piano or dance recitals.

Once the running from here to there has stopped and I’m watching my girls participate in whatever activity they’ve chosen, I love it.

I like seeing the joy on their faces.

I like seeing them with their friends. (And I’m getting better at making friends of my own on the sidelines.)

I hope they’re making memories they’ll treasure down the road.

I know I’ll treasure the memories of seeing them so happy.

Because I know it’ll go by fast.

I hope softball season never ends.