We parked the car and walked onto the soccer fields and I looked around and thought about how the world doesn’t stop for anyone or anything.
It was the morning after another set of terrorist attacks, Paris was set on fire by multiple incidents and the new was ablaze was analysis and information about it.
Later on I’d sit at my laptop and catch up on the events of the day, read commentary about the presidential debates and remarks about whether Paris received more attention than it deserved.
But out on the field, well I didn’t think about those things.
I was too busy watching the girl in the picture below play the game she loves.
I am too proud not to share that in the fourth quarter she scored the only goal of the game, but I don’t know if that was my favorite moment of the game.
Neither one of us looks quite the same as we do in this picture but eight years of life can do that to you, at least I think it was eight.
Could be seven or some other number, doesn’t really matter all that much. Lots has happened and the girl who promised she wouldn’t grow up too fast has kept growing at warp speed.
Mind you I asked her to make a promise she couldn’t keep knowing full well that I was asking the impossible, but sometimes we do that.
Sometimes we ask people to help us stop the world from spinning so fast because we want to enjoy a moment for longer than an instant.
The Little Moments Are What Counts
When I look back upon my life the big moments stick out for the obvious reasons but it is almost always the little ones that make me stop and watch or think about things.
It is usually something simple that catches my eye, watching my kids play a game together or apart or watching their reaction to something and wondering what is going on inside their heads.
That is probably not any different from most parents.
But those moments stick with me because there is something about them that reminds me about how they stack up one on top of the other and form our lives.
And so I find myself watching the kids run on the field and I remember how different it was when they started.
I remember being the coach of a team of five-year-old girls and how sometimes they would all run after the ball to kick it or how two or three of them could stop to check out a bug or talk about the ribbons they had in their hair.
Sometimes they would interrupt practice to tell me about their puppy or kitten and how they loved their pet.
It was a mixture of cute and frustration, because the point was to help them learn how to play and have a good time while doing it.
Puppies and practice didn’t always mix.
She Is Me & She Is Herself
Time passed and the little girl who didn’t keep her promise not to grow too quickly got taller and better at her game.
When she would ask me for help I would offer suggestions and sometimes when she didn’t I would offer them anyway, it is a father’s prerogative to help his children.
Most of the time she would nod her head and do whatever she thought was best and I would silently laugh because my daughter didn’t know she was doing the same as her daddy has done and often does.
Over the years I watched her game and skills develop and smiled some more because I knew she loved it.
I tried hard not to push her too hard to focus on improving some skills because I knew that she might not respond as I hoped and figured if she decided on her own she needed to focus there it would be better.
But every now and then I’d give it a soft push because I knew/know that if she was a tad better in these areas it would make a dramatic difference.I asked her to make a promise she couldn't keep knowing full well I was asking the impossible...Click To Tweet
A few weeks ago I watched a girl on the other team push my daughter and elbow her and wondered what sort of response my daughter would come up with.
She and I had talked about this multiple times before. I had always told her to play a clean game but not to allow other players to bully or intimidate her.
“You have to stand up and protect yourself. Sometimes you need to give them a bump with your shoulder so they know they can’t take advantage of you.”
My daughter always nodded and smiled and then did her thing, but not this time.
This time she put up with it for a quarter and then decided she had enough.
This time when the two of them went chasing after the ball and the other girl tried to push her my daughter ran through her.
The other girl went down.
She wasn’t hurt and she got back up quickly but she didn’t throw another elbow or try to push my daughter again.
The Lessons We Learn
Ever since that game I have watched as my daughter has really come into her own. I have seen her grow on the field and watched as she played a smarter game.
It is clear now that she is seeing things in a different way and that she says plays developing and is not just reacting to what happens around her.
There is an awareness about her that has been there for a while, but today it felt like it was magnified tenfold.
She played with purpose.
Sure, I loved watching her score the winning goal and I’ll brag about how I loved watching make a couple of key defensive plays too.
But what I loved best was the joy she was playing with.
It reminded me of those 5 year-old girls who ran with ribbons streaming out of their hair laughing and giggling about puppies and kittens.
The little moments in life are where it is at.