Last week Dave and I forced Elle to try out for the Jr. High volleyball team.
By "forced" I mean suggested it would be really good for her, and since she's such a pleaser she went ahead and obeyed our wishes. (That and the fact that she would have felt really bad not trying out after I scrambled all over town trying to get her health-release form from a new doctor and all the other papers in by the deadline.) Despite the fact that she was really uncomfortably nervous about it (she's never played volleyball before the two-week "camp" she did right before school started and only knew a couple girls trying out), she knows that in our family "we do hard things."
The theory behind Dave and my crazy tryout idea? Well, she's going to be tall. And she's pretty coordinated. It's a team sport we really thought she would like (as opposed to the single-ness of tennis), and it would just give her a good introduction to it if she wanted to do it in the future. Hey, it was like free lessons.
We had several talks with her about how we just wanted her to do her best and regard the tryouts as some good exposure to a new sport. We didn't want her to be heartbroken or feel bad when she didn't make it.
Dave and I took turns watching the sunrise as we dropped her off at early-morning tryouts each morning.
The first day she came home with a smile on her face. Although she felt silly because she didn't get a single serve over the net, she had worked hard and it felt good.
The next day her smile was a little bigger. And the next even more excitement seeped out of her face.
I started to worry that she was getting a little too into this. Remember this was just a good practice? We're not supposed to make it because her tennis coach was already giving us the business about even having her tryout.
But on Friday she texted me after school: "I made it."
That girl had worked really, really hard at something completely out of her comfort zone. And I could tell through the week what that hard work was doing to her self-esteem...and to her heart. I know this is easy to say in retrospect but I really think she would have felt just as good for trying had she not made it because she really put her all into it. She knew she did her best come what may.
When I went up the stairs to bed that night I found she had written this on our chalkboard:
Yesterday I found myself in a "mandatory parent meeting" watching her with a group of smiling, good, mostly much more physically developed :) girls who will quickly become dear friends and I couldn't have been more proud of her.
She knows it's not all rainbows and butterflies from here. She knows she'll sit a lot of the time on the bench because she's the one with the least amount of experience. She knows she has to work hard to build up her strength (she asked if I wanted to do P90X with her the other night).
But I know she can do it.
Because she knows she can do hard things.
How I hope she'll always remember that whether or not the result of those hard things is what she is hoping for or not.
p.s. remember about this huge give-away that ends tonight!