One day after a particularly tough softball game that I coached, I realized just how thankful I am that there is more to my life than softball. I was feeling a little down, frustrated, and disappointed when my then 5 month old daughter changed all of that in an instant. This little person, who couldn't say a word, who had no concept of what I just went through, simply looked at me, paused for a second, then gave me the biggest, happiest smile I'd seen all day. In that one moment, with that one simple gesture, she wiped away all my anxiety, disappointment, and frustration and replaced those negative feelings with a positive sense of hope.With just that one smile, she lifted my spirits and made me realize it was just a game, it was over, and I would wake up the next morning, go back to the field, and keep moving forward.
After that day, I realized just how fortunate I was that there was more to my life than softball. Even a few weeks after "the smile" I was still thinking about the balance between life and softball. Softball has always been such a great relief of stress for me. I think it's so great that softball can give you the renewed strength you need to deal with life's challenges. However, just as softball helps with life, life can also help keep the game in perspective so you be at your best on the field.
With all these thoughts swirling through my head, I realized that my daughter's smile that day changed the my whole perspective on being a softball parent. As I thought again about the smile that was so magical for me that day, I began to wonder about something. When my daughter got older, when she had a particularly rough day on the field, would I be able to do for her what she did for me? With just one gesture, without having to use any words, would I be able to take away her frustration, take away her sense of failure, and give her the hope to keep moving forward the next day? In just one instant, would I be able to mend her spirit and let her know that she is loved no matter what happens on the softball field? She was able to do it for me when she was just 5 months old. Wouldn't it only be fair that I do the same for her when it's her turn to face that tough day?
So often as parents we turn that ride home into a much dreaded experience. We want to put in our two cents (or for some of us two dollars) to make our child better. But I've challenged myself, especially on a particularly rough day, to keep my mouth shut, keep my heart open, and be the one who, with just one small gesture, sets my daughter's world right again. I'm challenging myself to save all those words, the ones I know I'll have screaming in my head, for a truly teachable moment. Can you do the same?
Please fell free to discuss this article and any other topics with me below.