Decisions that matter and those that change everything

Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy, a decision made after years of anguished thought, one that changed my life.  Words to some, but a 2 year-long process that changed everything about how I think, how I make decisions and almost everything about my life.  The entire stream of thought that started this blog as I worked through my decisions to have surgery over 3 years ago.  I truly do believe that the process changed my life as well as my families.

Over time these pages became my thoughts on life, parenting and more.  I have never changed the name because no matter the thoughts shared, they have always been about “decisions” in some way.  I mean that is all life is right?  A long road paved in decisions both good and bad.

As your kids grow they become involved in activities, sports and otherwise and you grow to trust the adults, often parents who also have children involved.  You tell yourself that they are doing what is best for all of the kids as well as your child.  This is our story with soccer.  The girls have both played since 5 years old.  Issues began to show themselves last year with our older daughter’s team but to be honest at the time I was in the midst of the Town Council election race and could not refused to see it  act on the issues.

11928724_10203867858291906_7063304232702176066_nIt became clear the development of my child was not important to those in charge of the team.  She was not having fun, the team was not growing and something had to give.  In our town many demand loyalty to the “township”.  I am loyal only to those I love and those loyal to myself and those I love.  It became clear it was time for a decision,

Decisions, stay within our township and play for a team put together as an after thought,

Decisions, Play for other townships who we once competed against(a few wanted Meg because she was one of the strongest full-time goalkeepers in the area, a position she never wanted to play full-time)

Decisions, go totally outside the established township societal rules and try out for a private club team.

The long process of making this decision sounds so silly to some but when the will, thoughts and feelings of an 11-year-old girl are involved, absolutely nothing is easy.  This was a very difficult decision, she would not know anyone, she would play outside of our community.  Since she was not ever provided playing time on the field (outside of goal) she was at a clear disadvantage.  We showed up for a training and after only 45 minutes my girl was accepted to the team, a private club team.  The interesting feedback from the evening, she would be expected to play all aspects and was too young to be limited to any one aspect of the game but that they would train her.  The decision was clear and made immediately.  My girl was thrilled.

For the last 2 months we have practiced and trained all guided under the eyes of her new coach.  Scrimmages and 3 v 3 competitions to prepare for the season brought us to this past weekend.  Our first tournament to prepare for the season.  With Megan’s background and skill she is still the starting keeper for the team and started all 3 games during the first half.  In the second half of the first game she took the field  as a mid-fielder playing a mixed offensive/defensive position and pulled her weight.  It was the second game where my head spun!  Midway through the second half  I saw my girl substituted into the game as a Forward.  I figured she was there just to give someone a water break and that it would be a short shift but then something happened.  Meg had only been in the game for about 2-3 minutes when her team began moving down the field.  A beautiful pass from a teammate right to the center of the field where Meg was waiting and with one touch Megan launched the ball into the top of the net for her first goal ever.

Meg jumped so high it became clear to her teammates how special this was for her.  Hugs and high fives were exchanged.  Pride, confidence, development and teamwork.  Our decision was clearly the right one.  I have never seen my daughter practice so hard and enjoy the game so much.  She looks forward to practice and can not wait for the next game.  They will not win every game but they have heart, fight and a will to succeed.  If life were a book I would have to say that this chapter is still being written but the first few pages look like one great story!

Determination and Pride

Tomorrow Megan’s soccer team is playing in a soccer tournament.  Our township is hosting this one which is nice, short ride to the field and the ability to stop home between games if we want.  The tournament itself started tonight but her team has all 3 games tomorrow.

After an awful fall with no wins a tie and the rest losses, the coach made some changes.  First he brought on an assistant to help him to work more closely with the girls in practice.  The practices are definitely more high impact and the girls are more focused.  He also pointed out something that we all saw very clearly, our little girls were in terrible shape.  They would come onto the field full of steam to play but within a few minutes were out of gas.  By the second half our girls were flat-footed to put it nicely.

Do not misunderstand me, none of us parents cared about the losses but seeing 7-8 year olds unable to play for the full-time was concerning.  Twice a week in practice they now start and finish with a half mile run for a total of 1 mile.  The first time Megan had to complete the run we had tears, lots of them!  Before she even started she told me she would never be able to finish. It was tough for me to watch, I even went out and jogged part of the last lap with her to try to get her through.

It has been 4 weeks now and the results are showing.  The team’s record is 2-1-1 and they play much stronger.  With the tournament this weekend all of the fields have been closed in preparation.  Coach wanted to make sure the girls were focused so he had them show up at the park Thursday night for a run.  When we arrived we were informed that the distance would be 2 miles.  No timers, no winners just finish and NO walking.  Wow…I will admit I was worried.  I whispered in Megan’s ear a reminder, breath, pace yourself and do not worry about what anyone else is doing or where you are in the group just stay focused and finish.

I stood with the father of another girl from the team and we watched the girls pass us, (each lap is a half mile).  After the first mile I gave her a small drink and told her how great she was doing.  After the next lap she was struggling but on ward she went.  At the end of the fourth lap the coach patted each girl on the back as they came across told them to grab a water and walk one more for cool down.  I walked with her with pride.  My baby who literally almost collapsed the first run had just completed twice the distance with no tear and told me that although her legs felt like jelly she felt great!

I will admit that at first I thought the coach was a bit rough.  He was asking too much from little kids.  Sometimes it takes events like this to remind me, although I want to protect them from every ouch, every pain, I can not wrap them in bubble wrap.  The best way to protect them is to ensure that they are strong, healthy and confident.  I don’t know what the results of the games will be but I am sure that the girls will play hard and with confidence, and in the end that is all we could ever hope.