Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On watching daughters:

I have never felt such tugs on my heart strings as I watch my little girl on the softball field. She is the smallest girl on her team and the only one who has never played before. To say she was a skilled player would be an untruth. She is, however, enthusiastic and pays close attention to whatever the coach tells her to do. She may not hit hard or run very fast but she does it just like she is told - and she is darn cute when she does it.

Last week we saw her unreasonable confidence shaken. Coach got a new tee. The old one was broken and could be completely shrunk to an appropriate Reba size. With this new and improved tee at home plate, Reba struck out, twice. She put on a brave face and walked back to the dugout, defeated. I wanted to throw up, knowing the kind of feeling she must be experiencing and yet unable to change things or protect her. I would not be the kind of mom that never lets her kids experience disappointment. What would they ever learn otherwise?

This week I watched yet another strike out on the too tall tee. Fearing that this might finally squelch the spirit of my softball player I suggested they might use the other tee for Reba. Actually, I made Brian ask the coach if she could. Apparently I still don't want to seem like a meddling mother. Two hits later on the old tee we were well back on the road to confidence. As we walked away from the game with one happy little girl I was still perplexed - which battles are for mom and what must my baby endure? How much can her spirit take before it is crushed? Apparently we were safe with the three strike outs as she announced she "would probably get a sticker from coach for her helmet seeing as how I played so well today." Uh, huh. We will have to work on perception next.


jenny k said...

At least she is focusing on the positives. =) Plus, she looks good in the uniform - that's got to count for something.

Queen Ree said...

Reminds me of the old Kenny Rogers song where the kid is throwing the ball up for himself and strikes out each time. He walks away saying I must be the best pitcher ever even I couldn't hit those balls. - And as for when a mom should intervene, I think you did it just right. You didn't keep her from experiencing challenge, but if she is unable to adjust the circumstances that are beyond her control, it's ok to help smooth the way. There is a reason it is tee ball at this age. They still need help problem solving. Go with your gut - you have a good radar. (mixing metaphors :-)