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The End of The Beginning

In two more Saturdays I will graduate from 3rd grade Fall soccer.

Or it will feel that way.

Mostly because…

I’ve attended every practice since August. I’ve paced the sidelines of every game. I’ve clapped encouragement, shouted unheard and unheeded instruction, come running with water, and stood frozen in the rain a few times with a flimsy umbrella.

But I’ve done it for her.

This one.

My 8 year old who swapped ballet for soccer.

And whose venture here has changed us both.

Because there’s something about a kid in a sport that becomes more than the sum of their practices.

More than a simple substitution from the sidelines.

More than a swipe at the goal.

It’s this wellspring of uncorked emotions that bubble and fizzle and leak sometimes.

“Go!” we shout. “Go! Go! Go!”

“Run!” we holler.

“You’ve got this!”

“That’s it!”

“Phew.”

And then sometimes we step back long enough to realize they DO have this.

They get what matters.

And then strangely, with or without our shouts, they handle the ball in a crowd.

They dribble in the right direction.

They kick it into gear from behind.

And even score.

And we realize that in the midst of every win, of every close one, of every lousy loss how much we love them.

We love them.

And we meld our joy with theirs.

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