We can't do it all. Its just a fact. I believe we need a village and sometimes we don't realize our village is right at our fingertips.

Twice in the past week while sitting near a local family, I have learned wisdom I have searched for, all without searching.

My oldest. She's amazing and I don't say it enough. She's beautiful. She's kind. She's sweet. She's smart and she wants so much to be an athlete. Or is it me? Or her father? Or both of us?

Having parents that both played sports in college as well as a great grandfather who began a hockey program at a major university, leads a child to feel they have expectations put upon them. It puts undue pressure on little minds to potentially be who they are not.

For years I have tried to find my daughter a sport. Was it dance? No. She hated it. Was it gymnastics? Nope, she feared being upside down. Soccer? Those balls move towards your head. Maybe it was basketball? The first basket she scored brought tears to the eyes of many in the crowd and her coach on the sidelines. Perhaps it was Rugby? Maybe it was field hockey? The first go was not a positive one but the second seemed more hopeful. She had a great coach and when sign ups came around, this year she wanted to try again. She played. She played better than last year and she grew a strong love for this woman who coached her wanting to do well for her but wishing she was better. This coach never gave up on her, even when her mom did.

When the season ended, she never scored. Her teammates still loved her and I wondered, why? When I was her age, the person who struggled wasn't picked first in gym and they certainly weren't a team favorite.

Basketball started just a couple weeks later and while I watched her little sister easily take the court and begin to pick up the skills, the oldest struggled and I wanted to help but didn't know how.

She was placed on that field hockey coaches husbands' team. He didn't coach the same way. He was tougher but he cared. She wanted to play well for him too but couldn't muster up the strength and I giggled with embarrassment wondering if I was putting my child out on the chopping block when I should let her choose to do something else, and then it happened.

As we sat just days away from her birthday the sister of this coach my daughter adores said "every team needs a teammate like Simone". Shocked, my head spun and then I began to take it in. Maybe every team DID need a player like Simone. I watched and as each girl came off the court she praised them. She told them how they did well and played their best. Her arms went around them when they felt down and they seemed to adore her even though she wasn't putting points on the boards. That was it. The team didn't care that she wasn't making baskets, they knew she was their support even when the coaches weren't impressed with their play. She was the caregiver of the team and that too was important.

That night we left and the team won. They all played well but I wondered how I could propel my daughter to try harder when I knew she could? This past week, nearly a week after the first bit of advice I sat talking at field hockey to the coach from fall. We discussed the fact that Simone was afraid to fail and I realized I too have been afraid to fail all my life. Fear of the unknown is huge for me and it looks like my poor daughter got that gene.

Today as we drove to the basketball game I tried a new pep talk. I told her I didn't care if she screwed up. I didn't care if she failed as long as she was trying HER best and I knew HER best was not anyone else's best. Tonight, she played. She actually tried to get the ball and even got a foul. She didn't make baskets, she didn't rack up points but she did her best. She began to come out of her shell all because I changed my pep talk and told her it was okay to fail.

Sometimes when you stop talking and start listening you gain wisdom in simple conversation. I am grateful that here in this little town we are growing our village to support my family and myself...for without that village, this parenting world would be much more challenging. Here's hoping tomorrow we see some growth too! 


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