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Adoption Blog: Be Bold or Go Home

The Reluctant Soccer Mom
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With three children playing on three different soccer teams, I’ve been labeled a soccer mom, but last Saturday morning I woke up wishing we could skip it. I awoke craving a lazy day to watch movies, bake cookies, and putter in the yard. Instead, I braced myself to race from field to field, to feed the crew sandwiches in the car between games, and to deal with the pile of sweaty shin guards and grass-stained jerseys that would eventually land in a stinky jumble on the laundry room floor.

My husband John and I had just spent a chunk of Friday night studying the calendar to figure out when I could fly east to see my dad, for possibly the last time. He has prostate cancer, and though for years it seemed to be in check, the disease returned with a vengeance last fall and spread quickly to his bones and now his brain. We had to weigh travel dates against the kids’ soccer schedules until we found a weekend with game times far enough apart that John could single-handedly get the kids where they’ll need to be. Given the serious circumstances, working so hard just to honor our commitment to a rec league seemed ridiculous. After all, the kids are only 6, 7 and 8—we’re not talking the World Cup here.

I confess, I am sometimes—make that often—envious of my friends whose children shun team sports.

This Saturday’s gauntlet started with 8-year-old Didi’s 10 AM match. She and John left the house first, in time for pre-game warm up. I reluctantly loaded the other two kids in the car shortly thereafter and stopped on the way for a cappuccino. I thought we were going to be right on time, but we got to the field about five minutes late.

“You missed it!” my husband exclaimed. “Didi had an amazing goal shot from the side!”

“What child scores in the first two minutes of the game?” I said, feeling the guilt.

Other parents drifted over to tell me what an incredible feat I had missed. “Didi’s goal was worthy of the highlight reel,” said the dad who used to play in the NHL and is always trying to recruit my kids for the ice hockey league.

Finally, the crowd settled back down to watch the game. I confess I was simply daydreaming until John spoke again.

“Remember when I was so worried because I didn’t think Didi could run right?” he asked.

His words shocked me back into the moment. I’d forgotten.

For the first time that day I really looked at the girls on the field and found my beautiful daughter, running with speed and grace, smoothly stealing the ball from the opposing team, and passing it halfway down the field. There was virtually no trace of the pale, thin, worried little girl we brought home from India almost three years ago, a little girl who ran stiffly, awkwardly and slowly, if she ran at all. My eyes filled with tears.

Didi’s team won 3-0. As we left the field, a few parents shouted more congratulations for her spectacular goal.

“I want your autograph,” yelled one mom. “You bent it like Beckam!”

How truly lucky I am to be a reluctant soccer mom.


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Meet the Author

Sharon Van Epps

Sharon Van Epps

Washington

I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
Ethiopia, India

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