Last week I sent Sarah off into a big new world. She has enjoyed soccer in the past and seems to really love the feeling of being on a team. Mind you, she is a scrappy little thing.... but getting in the middle of the little cluster of kids fighting for the ball is a bit overwhelming.
I saw this Spring that there was a sports camp at Rice University for soccer. The "Owlets" were a special group of 4-6 year olds who could further their athletic endeavor. So I asked Miss Sarah if she wanted to do it and signed her up before she could change her mind.
As the week approached I grew apprehensive. She does PLENTY of activities- camps, gymnastics, art classes, music classes, t-ball, soccer, computer, blah, blah, blah.... But those have always been because her big brother wanted to do those activities. I had encouraged her to do an art class this Spring on her own with pretty disastrous results. She only wanted to go if one of her friends or Cash accompanied her. Or if I was in the waiting room, of course.
This was going to be the big time. All on her own. Big tough coaches. Heat. Unfamiliar territory.
But my little sweet Sarah did it. I pulled that minivan up in front of the practice and she somewhat cautiously looked out the window at the other kids. Man, you could tell she was scared. But I opened the door, put a (admittedly forced) smile on my face, and held out my hand to her. You could see her square her shoulders as she grabbed my hand. She was not going to let her fear get the best of her.
After drop off I sat in my car and watched her stand there with her ball in her hand and sort of look around waiting for instructions. It seemed like all of the other kids were either running around playing, chatting with friends, or kidding around with counselors. And Sarah just stood quietly and waited. My heart was right out there with her.
And all that week I would pull up at the end of camp and find the sweatiest, reddest faced, but most proud little girl you can ever imagine. My little mosquito girl was by far the tiniest of the bunch. And she did it. When I asked if she had a good time, she would bravely say "yes."
But at night or during quiet moments, she would quietly say to me, "Mommy, soccer camp is very long. Can you come and watch me? " I knew she was pushed to the limit. And my heart broke and felt lonely with her.
I know my baby girl has tremendous pride in her achievement. Little Scrappy wouldn't take off her shin guards every day after camp. And you should have seen the look on her face as she soooo proudly went up to get her medal and certificate at the end of the week. (It's currently framed on the wall in her room.)
Last week was truly an experience in letting my daughter do the hardest thing on her own.
And I have never had my heart squeezed outside of my body like that- ever.