It’s 7 o’clock and I’m sitting at a softball field watching my baby girl do what she loves and I’m almost in tears.
Life really comes full circle. Sometimes years and years later, sometimes it doesn’t take that long.
She has always had to fight. She had an injury at birth that took the full use of her right arm from her. She was a forced lefty for years and we didn’t know it. When we did finally catch it, she had surgery. She was taken out of the sport she loved for a full year. She had use of that arm now but it was weak. Physical therapy, exercises and lots of hard work kept her playing the game she loved.
She has always had amazing coaches. Some better than others. Some loving, some tough. We made some amazing lifelong friends through softball. Practicing for hours, several times a week, traveling all over together. You create bonds.
We’ll call her first really tough coach the Old Man. She met the Old Man when she was playing 10U. All the girls loved him. He was the meanest, toughest coach she had ever come in contact with. Drop and give him 10 in the middle of a game. Parents on the other team would whisper about it. He told the girls what he thought about them and the positions they wanted to play. If he didn’t think you’d ever amount to an outstanding pitcher or shortstop, he told you.
No one understood how much these girls loved him though. He loved them too.
Some tough decisions were made and she decided to leave the Old Man. She always talked about him though and how much she missed him. She and her best friend would go back and guest play for him anytime he needed them.
He always checked in on her. He was always there, maybe in the shadows but he never really left her. Or me for that matter. He told me a few minutes ago that he always wanted her. Her place was always with him. She said in her heart she knew that.
This past year and a half has hit her hard. My two oldest. They’ve struggled the most with our new life. I’m not a “tough love” kinda mom but I finally had to be. I had to play the tough mom role and she had to make some decisions. Some life decisions. Big girl decisions. Set some goals. Think long term.
So here we are. In the dirt with the Old Man again. She says it feels like home. Where she belongs. So I’m doing what I can for her. I’ll drive her. I don’t mind. If it leads her to her dreams I will do whatever I can.
She’s out there. Proving herself again. And I am so proud of her. Life knocks you down. My girl is getting back up.