Not only that, halfway through the practice, they played an actual game. As a side note, those of you who know about peewee soccer know that they never really play an actual game. They are still learning what that means and so they go through all the motions of a game but it is a lot of stopping and starting and a lot of yelling, "the other way, go the other way!" Regardless, we parents sit on the sidelines and cheer and try to keep ourselves from yelling out things like, "way to go...way to run that other kid down and steal the ball away from him!" You can't say things like that in peewee soccer. But I digress.Halfway though practice they played an actual game and, apparently, Hope decided she wasn't just gonna run around that field all day with no ball action. So, she jumped right in the middle of the scramble for the ball and, several times, took off running down the field kicking that ball (the right way, I might add) and leaving her little teammates in the the dust. It was quite a sight to behold! Then, we had one of those moments you always wish you could get on camera, but never can. She looked right over at me, with a huge grin on her face, and raised both her little fists in the air in victory. She proceeded to do that every time she ran away with the ball, and, every time, it was precious! As she told me later, she "never got to score a goal but she helped a lot." I asked her what happened out there and why she was so bold all of the sudden. She told me her friend, Caden, taught her how to just stay out there and have fun. Of course, we have been saying this for weeks but apparently Caden is a more reliable source for these things. I have no idea what he said but I am sure that I owe that boy a debt of gratitude. We all need friends like Caden in our lives.
Then, yesterday we went to watch Hope's good friend, Ali, get her ears pierced. Hope and I have talked about this a time or two because she wanted "big girl earrings." Each time I have been pretty honest and told her that it hurts but only for a minute or so. Each time she has decided it was not worth the pain. Fine with me. After watching Ali, who was very brave and only cried for about thirty seconds (which made Hope cry, too, in sympathy for her friend, I guess), Hope decided that she wanted to do it, too. I told her we would think about it for a day and then see how she felt. When she woke up this morning it was all she could talk about and she was absolutely convinced that, even though it was gonna hurt, she wanted to do it. So, we headed to the store. I have to confess that I was fairly certain she would back out at the last minute, which I was fully prepared to let her do. To my great surprise, she sat there, very still, through all the prep, and then she let those two lovely women poke holes in her ears. She cried for a minute and then looked at herself in the mirror and smiled. I told her how proud I was of her and how brave I thought she was. Then, she whispered all tickly in my ear, "I am so proud of myself." Here is a picture of one of her pretty pink earrings.
How I wish I could bottle of some of that pride, some of that freedom, some of that bravery, and keep it for when she gets a little older and those things seem to fail her. I'd give some to her the first time some awful boy breaks her heart, or the first time her friends cut her deeper than any boy could. I'd save it for when she fails at something she has dared to want badly, or when she needs to take a stand with her peers. I'd bathe her in it when she was weary of following the Lord cause no one else seems to, or when she wasn't feeling so good about who He created her to be. For now, I am ever aware that she is in this process of becoming and so I pray that this process leads her consistently to the Lord. And then, in my own act of bravery, I make the decision not to tuck her away at this age, sure in her knowledge of these few simple truths. Instead, I choose to trust her to Him and then, take great delight in her emerging.