And it’s totally soccer. Soccer, people. Which is fitting for my fiery Latina. Of course, we had good friends who are Mexican that relocated and aside from the other things we miss about them–the husband was our “futbol” mentor for her. I had a detailed message exchange with him tonight about what to do with her to ensure her continued success. Because, ya know, Mama was athletic but so NOT a soccer player and Papa… well… Papa is a self-proclaimed “sports moron”.
Last year was Girly’s first year in soccer, and true to her nature–she was timid and didn’t really “get in there”. The picture to the left says it all. It fully embodies her personality at the time. She’s shy and unsure of herself most of the time. She played for the AYSO team in our neighborhood and knew two of the kids on the team pretty well. One she really liked and the other she took issue with him kicking her ball a lot during practice drills. She didn’t seem to run as fast as we’d seen her run in other situations. She definitely didn’t seem to be persistent with what she needed to be doing. She enjoyed playing with her friends and goofing off a lot and even then, she seemed to sometimes hang back from the little group of girls on the team… as if she wasn’t sure if she was really accepted there.
This is a really common theme with her: not knowing where she belongs. It’s been so hard. We made an amazing breakthrough with her last month in connecting with her as a family. She finally… FINALLY… let the wall down and accepted comfort from me in her pain. OMG, she’s never done that. It was so, so huge. I wanted to cry. She’s nearly 6 and we’ve had her from birth. No question–our life exacerbated what was already there; but it’s so huge to know we’re getting there with patience and love.
When we knew we were moving out of the neighborhood, we were led to believe she could no longer be on the neighborhood team anymore. We signed her up for soccer in our new town and consoled ourselves with the potential for meeting people in our new neighborhood. We took a spot for a team in a park not far because there was a wait-list for the team that practiced at the school up the street. But then we found out she COULD play on her old team because we didn’t move far. I canceled her spot on the new team (which met on the same night as the old team) and put her back in AYSO. I also wait-listed her on the soccer team that met at the school up the street in our new town. We had come to really appreciate the potential to meet people and kids in our new town and really, she wasn’t doing ballet or gymnastics. Why not? She was excited about soccer, if only for the snacks.
Well, we are now about 2 weeks into the season and she’s a different kid. No kidding. Playing on the new team has really changed her. She’s gotten progressively more aggressive with her soccer skills. She’s running fast, getting in and really getting at the ball. The progress has been amazing, and she’s really doing well. Papa took video of her goalie drills and it was really unbelievable. She wasn’t afraid of the ball. All of this has now transferred over to her performance on the AYSO team. She came home tonight so proud to tell me her achievements! She’s always been so shy and so self-deprecating. It was so awesome to see her able to acknowledge her achievements! SUCH HUGE STEPS!!!
Just before she went upstairs to change, she told me all the things “she was” now: a story writer (author), a dancer, a singer, a runner, a soccer player and I think a few other things. She was so proud of all the things “she was” now. Her smile was just beaming. And so was mine.
I could never have dreamed this day would come so soon with her. But wow… #thankful.