Sunday, September 8, 2013

This girl

We celebrated Rosh Hashanah this week, which for all its religious significance also bore in my mind the last hurdle for getting into the school year. Does your mind work that way? I don't feel relief by reaching a goal or deadline; I only feel relief having leapt into the midst of the next project that was lined up after that deadline. So now we're in the school year, and now we can exhale.

For a certain kindergartner I adore, Rosh Hashanah was perhaps most important for the way it was bookended: with a trip to the sporting goods store on Wednesday afternoon and her first soccer clinic today. She's been looking forward to soccer for forever, and being in the school year means that it's finally time for all the fun extra-curricular activities to begin. She's not playing on a team but rather it's a coordinated activity with skill-building and scrimmages and athleticism all emphasized, teamwork and cooperation and knowing your left foot from your right. This girl actually knows that, so she's ahead of the game -- and the ball.

She needed cleats and shin guards and her own soccer ball, and, not to get all uphill-both-ways-in-the-snow on you, but when I played soccer, shin guards were white and soccer balls were black and white and cleats were black or they were white. And that was that. But L now owns black and neon pink cleats and pink and neon blue shin guards and a wild purple and fuchsia size 3 soccer ball. And rainbow knee socks, because what else would you wear under pink shin guards, really?

To tell her that her first soccer class didn't start until 12:30 only meant that she needed to get her gear on hours early and practice in the backyard.

I think we'll see her out there quite a lot now.

She's seriously fierce. I had no idea that she'd picked this up from preschool soccer, which could really only best be called preschool "soccer," but she yelled, Mama! Watch me practice my headers! and then she did.

I love this kid.

The lovely husband took her to soccer while I took the other two on a couple of short errands, and then we all met up for a late lunch and kid-switch. L was flushed and sweaty and exuberant. Toward the end of the clinic one of the coaches yelled out, "Don't let L get the ball! She's sneaky and she'll score!" and to hear L repeat that story, it's clear she treasures that comment as one of the highest compliments she's ever received.

She was radiant, truly the picture of happiness. I don't recall the last thing that's made her so excited.

Until: we completed the kid switch. The lovely husband took the boy home and I brought the girls to the dance store, where L got her first-ever pair of tap shoes. Tap class starts this week, too, and judging by the glow in her smile, that might be just as exciting.

Not all of us excel at appreciating new beginnings, so cheers to that unrestrained joy, to those of us who can jump right in, to unfettered happiness. To smiles measured in lumens and play that equals sweat. To anticipation and gratification. To a happy new year, in all its forms.
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