I've got something on my mind that I need to get written down because I don't want to forget it, and since I'm lousy at keeping a journal...the blog will have to do :)
Today was Ar and Noah's last game of soccer for spring season. What an awesome season it has been. I LOVE everything about it. I even love the practices...we go and watch the kids play and do something that they love and support them and it's wonderful.
Arwen and Noah's games were at the same time today, so I went to Ar's and Aaron took the little guys to Noah's. At first, it looked like the opposing team wasn't going to show. Arwen talked me into going out and being goalie so the girls could practice offense. (Ha Ha, Arwen. She just wanted an easy target in there so they could score big time!) Let me tell you, those 8 year olds can kick. I was scared for my life...well, the life of my shin-guardless shins anyways. It was lots of fun and then the other team rolled in right as the game was about to start.
Arwen started as sweeper and let nothing get past her and into the goal. (It may or may not have had a little something to do with the fact that I told her I would give her a wedgie if the other team scored. I'm not sure...) Then she played striker and scored a goal for me. They played a bit more and the ref's blew the whistles for half time.
There are 11 girls on Ar's team and so they always have 2 games going on at the same time. 6 girls on one field and 5 on the other. So at half time our girls switched fields so they could play the other half of the opposing team. I noticed when they switched that the other team had a little girl on it whose little body wasn't the same as everyone else's. She was quite a bit shorter than the other girls and there was something wrong with her skinny little appendages. I had what I will call a "small lung" moment..
What the heck is a "small lung" moment, you ask. Well, Aaron and I know this kid whose mom wouldn't let him try out for sports because "he had small lungs." Turns out the kid did just fine in sports once he was able to convince his mom he wouldn't die. Sometimes when we go out for a run together and I'm convinced that I just can't run a step more because my my lungs are screaming or my knees hurt I'll yell that I'm about to die because of whatever my excuse is and Aaron just has to say, "small lungs."
As a mother I struggle with letting my kids try new things or things that seem scary to me because I don't want to see them fail or struggle or get hurt. Like Josh. I always worry about him being able to keep up with everyone because of his weird muscles. Or Noah because he's so darn little. But all Aaron has to say to me is, "small lungs" and I realize that I have to let them try and that they will be okay.
So, back to the game and my "small lung" moment. I was worried sick about this little girl. First off, there are some psycho parents of these sweet little 8 year olds who will scream at the kids or gossip amongst themselves about whatever player just screwed up the play. I've seen the parents get really upset at some of the kids who aren't as quick or agile as some of the kids. It breaks my heart. Then I worried because the girls on Ar's team can kick...HARD. I already mentioned my poor shins.
I had such a humbling experience when the whistle was blown and play resumed. It took me a few minutes, but I noticed that anytime the sweet little girl would get the ball, ALL the parents on her team would scream her name, no matter what. I'm not sure that there was anything mentally wrong with her, but she sure knew the rules of soccer. She'd get that ball and dribble towards her goal. It was so neat to hear the parents yelling for her.
Then I noticed Arwen. Arwen is a superstar...and No. None of that superstar-ness came from me. Parents got to scrimmage against the girls last night as final practice and lets just be honest and say I was the lamest one out there. And Arwen is 100 percent the exact opposite of me. She is so aggressive and intimidating. She would terrify me if I had to be on the opposite team as her. Whenever someone on the other team has the ball, it's not for very long. Arwen steals it, dribbles down and scores. Really. I'm talking she always scores 70 percent of the goals her team makes.
Anytime the little girl got to the ball and Arwen was the first one there to try and steal it, I noticed something. And it took my breath away and even made me cry. Arwen did not charge the little girl. She did not steal the ball away from her. She'd wait it out and let play happen and then continue on after the girl passed the ball. At first I wasn't sure Arwen was doing it on purpose. Because really, how often does she look at the girls' faces or bodies. It's all about feet and the ball. I figured her eyes were glued to that ball and nothing could distract her. But after a few times I just knew that Arwen knew there was something special about this girl and that she needed to do some things differently. Ar didn't stop playing and make it seem like she was just letting the girl "win." She stuck with her and followed the ball, but never once did she make contact with that ball and steal it. I promise you. If Arwen had wanted that ball she would have had it lightening fast.
We try so hard to teach our kids to be kind others and love others. But most of the time I'm convinced my kids don't get it. The punch each other, call each other nasty names and throw tantrums about how life is not fair when they get called on it. But today I knew that that Arwen gets it and that when push comes to shove, she's going to look out for the littler guy. That she will be the one to make sure no one eats lunch alone at school. That she won't let others pick one someone because they are different. She won't care that her whole team, or class is watching and worry that what they might think of her.
I love this sweet little girl so much. I LOVE to watch her play ball. It gives me so much pleasure and happiness. Seriously, I look forward to practice and the games more than just about anything. But it's NOTHING compared to seeing her whole self filled with compassion and love for someone she doesn't even know. She gets it. She's trying to be like Jesus. She wants to be good. She loves her fellow humans.
I asked her after the game if she noticed something was different about the little girl and she said she did. I wanted to ask her why played the way she did, but she looked at me with her sincere blue eyes and I could just see everything. She did what was right not because someone told her too or even because we've coached her on how to treat others that have it a little rougher than we do. She did it because she is full of goodness and charity and kindness. I just love her so much and always want to remember what is probably an insignificant moment that no one even noticed except for me. Well, Arnie, I noticed and you really were the star out there today. Thank you.