What makes me smile? Maybe it is watching my 6-year-old score 4 goals in a soccer game. Or listening to that same beautiful girl read me the book she took out of the library. This same little girl who used to think it was funny to look at a color and tell me the wrong answer and laugh.
For years I worked tirelessly hoping to achieve success. The kind of success that the powers that be measure in scorecards and pay bonuses on and yes base you overall job on. I smoked heavily and stressed even more heavily. I lost friends along the way because my priorities were often misguided. If the scorecards or the paychecks were the measure I was successful. There was a problem, I was not happy.
Today I experienced pure happiness. It started with a 6 year old’s soccer game and my baby controlling the soccer field. The coolest part was actually in the car before we arrived when she explained that one of the other little girl had not scored a goal yet this year so she intended to help her finally achieve that goal today. How awesome is that? My little girl concerned about the feeling of a friend and planning how to help.
Megan had a different experience today. Since the beginning of the soccer season she has been the starting (and only) goalie of her team. Today due to some political silliness and forgetfulness she was made to sit for the first 10 minutes of the game. So a small step back first, when my daughter was asked to try out the goalkeeper position last year I was not a fan. She was interested so I agreed. It has not always been easy and there is a TON of extra pressure playing the position. Since she has decided she enjoys it, my husband and I have invested in her success. She attends goalkeeper camps that typically run about 8 weeks at a time and add an extra cost of anywhere from $170-$200 each to our lives. She is about to attend the fourth of such camps in 2 weeks which would put the overall investment at 32 hours and roughly $720. So when my child misses one practice in order to fit everything in and enjoy Halloween and some one complains forcing my child to sit for 10 minute the mama bear in me rears up just a bit. Since I understand the position of the coach I bite my tongue and suck it up and deal with the situation.
So back to real-time, fourth quarter game tied 1-1 and a call of hand ball inside the 18 yard line on our team. A direct kick straight on my baby with no help. As a parent I am of course concerned with the safety of my child first. As a parent on the team I worry about the possible goal that is sure to go in setting up only the second loss of the season. The time seemed to slow to a crawl. The referee talked to my daughter, words I could not hear from the side line. The talk seemed to last for minutes and all the while there was silence from the parents. Sitting in our local park maybe it was just me but there was purse silence. Once finished talking to Megan the ref went to the other girls and pushed them all back behind the 18 yard line. Time continued to stand still. He positioned himself and finally blew his whistle. As I held my breath the play finally started. The young lady from the other team took a minute and stepped to the ball launching it to the top of the net. My baby reach up knocking the ball down and with the ball bouncing in front of the goal line, a live ball, all 12 girls from each side rushed into the net attempting to take control of the ball. My baby totally unphased by the rush dropped to the ground covering the ball putting an end to the play. She grabbed the ball, ran to one end of the 18 and dropped a punt to mid field. A skill learned though many hours of camps and practice.
Our entire team players and families cheered but only my husband and I could fully understand just how great this was. See, my daughter has never been a natural athlete. Quiet the contrary she is a book-worm would much prefer to sit and read all day. It has taken many hour of work stress and sometimes tears to get this far. She has dedicated herself to improving her game. To see her leadership on the field taking control and basically telling the others “hey follow me I have this”, as a parent you can not help but feel pride. Is there any better definition of a leader?
So as a parent, to sit on the side lines watching a child who does not even realize that due to circumstances beyond her control she is being punished, step into a game and take the team onto her shoulders as a true leader, well if that does not instill pride into a mother what does?