Wednesday, May 15, 2013


He dons his uniform and cap, gathers his glove and equipment bag, and heads out the door yet again. It's baseball season and he has another game. He virtually vibrates in his seat as we drive to the game. He tells me about his teammates. He regales me with great plays. He tells me that he hopes he gets a hit.

It's been a bit of a dry spell in the hitting department. He's going great guns on the field. He's catching pop-ups, he's making double plays, he's aggressive. But when he steps into the batter's box, I can see it in his shoulders. I can see the tension. I can see the co-mingled hope and fear as he takes a couple of practice swings.

And I watch. And I cross my fingers. And my toes. And I whisper a silent prayer: Please, God, just once. Just one hit. Just to bring his confidence back. Please.

And I listen to his coach and his teammates as they offer encouragement: You can do it! This one's yours! Good eye! Big swing! Take it for a ride!

And I watch as he goes down swinging. And my heart aches as I see him walk dejectedly back to the dug out.

But then, when it's time to head back out to the field, there he is, all grins and freckles and joy. And when it's time to head back into the batter's box, he is there again serious-faced, ready to give it another try. Ready to swing away again.

And I think how hard this is and how strong he is and how brave he is to step into that box every time and keep swinging. And I am proud of his bravery.


She looks beautiful all in white. She is proud of her dress. She twirls. She loves her shoes; loves the clonking noise the little heels make as she walks across the wood floors.

She has been preparing for this day. She says she was practicing in bed at night. She says she is ready. She is aglow.

And I see her, in the same dress her sister wore, taking the flower wreath on and off her head, rolling her eyes as we tell her "one more picture" and my eyes prick with tears. My baby. The one I didn't know I needed until we found out about her. I can't believe we are at this milestone already.

We head to the church and there is milling about and more pictures and exclamations when friends are seen. And finally, it's time. We are gathered in the pew, like 8 ducks in a row, listening, waiting, watching. And I look over at her.

Her face has crumpled. She is crying. And I know. I know she is frightened. She is afraid of walking down that aisle. She is afraid of making a mistake. She is afraid of all those eyes on her.

And I begin to whisper. I whisper to her that it will be okay. I whisper that we will be right there with her. I whisper that there are others feeling frightened. I whisper that it doesn't matter if she makes a mistake--no one cares, God certainly doesn't. God loves her heart. God loves her humor. God loves her compassion. God loves her. I crack a joke. I cross my eyes. I make a face.

She gives me a tentative smile.

But then it's our turn. We rise and walk down the aisle. She is still crying. I see compassionate eyes in the pews, watching my girl. She checks my face and I offer her every ounce of encouragement I can summon. As she approaches the front, I see her panic. She wants to flee. She tells me: I can't! And I tell her: You can! You can do hard things! I am so proud of you!

And she does. She does it through tears, but she does it just the same.

We head back to the pew where the rest of the family is waiting with smiles and hugs and pats and thumbs up. And she settles back into the pew, relieved, as she watches others have their turn.

And I think how hard this is and how strong she is and how brave she is to put one foot in front of the other and keep walking down that aisle. And I am proud of her bravery.


I am doubtful. I question myself constantly; Is this the right decision? What if I mess up? What should I do next? What do people think of me? I am sometimes jumpy and uncomfortable in my own skin. Some days I want to pull the covers back up and say Not Today. I think I must be the only one: the only one who feels this way, the only one who struggles, the only one who hasn't got it all together, the only one who wishes she was someone else, was somewhere else. And I don't want any part of it. I think it might be easier to just stop. Quit.

But then they show me. Every day they show me how to walk bravely through this world. It's not always graceful. It's certainly not easy. But it's always amazing.

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