There once was a nine-year-old who asked her mom for a lacrosse stick. And goggles. And to join a cute team of other nine-year-olds.
Which meant cleats and a uniform and driving back and forth to three practices a week and God-knows-how-many games.
It made sense. Her older sister played. Her two older brothers played. Lacrosse equipment littered the garage, the kitchen, the trunk of the car and the talk around the table.
What was said mom to do?
She was exhausted with all the laundry, the cooking, the driving, the homework, the music lessons, the mayhem of motherhood.
Said mom, who was awful at making good boundaries and had the illusion she was supermom, responded with “yes.”
She loved sports. And who knows? “Maybe her final child had a chance at the big leagues” (whatever the heck that means when it comes to women’s lacrosse).
A fancy stick was purchased.
Along with pink goggles (a two-pack) and black cleats with a pink stripe.
Forms were filled out along with a hefty check written.
Practices were driven to, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
Cheering happened at games and mom friendships were formed on sidelines.
The little girl loved it.
So did her mom.
Year after year, the girl grew and played and grew and played.
Straight-up black cleats (no more pink stripe).
Very very soon (like a minute in mom years), the nine-year-old was donning a nylon mesh pinnie and headed to high school tryouts.
After a week of running and catching and dodging and attacking, the news came. She had made Junior Varsity.
The not-so-little girl loved it.
So did her getting-older mom.
More special and elite this-and-that.
News the following tryout year was even better. Varsity as a lowly sophomore. Varsity.
The season was long. And hard.
The coach was rough. And knowledgeable.
The girl was in shape. And very very busy.
The big girl loved it less and less.
The couldn’t-wait-for-the-next-game mom loved it more and more.
The announcement came one end-of-winter morning.
“I’m quitting lacrosse, Mom. I want to focus on my music. I want to help in the church sound booth.”
Said mom gathered herself quickly and tempered her aghast look (hopefully).
What was she to say? To do?
This was not what she wanted. Or expected. This would make her sad. Very sad.
“Okay honey. It’s your life and you should do what you want with it. You do you.”
That is what she said out loud.
That is what she meant down deep in her heart.
That is what she believed in her mom soul.
She wanted this girl to be completely herself and do whatever it takes to find out what that is.
But her mom loss was big.
The loss of standing on the sidelines, enjoying the crisp spring air, cheering for her girl.
The loss of easy friendships she had long-formed within the lacrosse microcosm.
The loss of her expectation of what her girl might accomplish or be.
So said mom who was learning better boundaries and how to take care of herself just a little bit more, gave herself permission to be sad.
Just plain old sad. For a while.
You know what?
She still really misses all things lacrosse. Very much.
She hasn’t gotten rid of the sticks. Not quite yet.
But her girl??
Her girl loves music. And sound-board buttons.
And her mom especially loves that her girl found that out.
The End. For Now.