It shifted. Under a skinny slice of moon Friday night, our Florida welcomed its first cold front of the season. Saturday morning, I stumbled out of bed, poured my coffee and headed toward the lanai after Brett prompted, “Go outside right now. Trust me.”
It was all I could do to refrain myself from running through the streets, twirling in my pajamas, singing “The hills are alive.” Oh, I will someday. But my pajamas weren’t embarrassing enough.
There was a breeze–a cool, earth-scented breeze that lifted the veil of humidity and delivered souvenirs from the north. Like a good excuse to wear boots.
Dot came over in a fall fever fury to make a Halloween craft with Lainey (she found it on Pinterest).
And we used every opportunity this weekend to enjoy cross breezes inside with open windows, and full breezes outside with open arms.
We’re getting very skilled at marrying our thirst for cooler temps with embracing the ones we have.
It’s all good.
And then there’s soccer.
I just kept thinking, I’m so happy to be here. In this privileged world of little ones that need our help lacing up their shoes before games and need our assurance as they timidly step outside of our space into their own.
As we walked into the sunlit field Friday night for practice–holding our girl’s hand, joining the throng of other families who also snapped pictures and retied loose shoe laces, I couldn’t help but hold back tears. I am the girl who dreamed of these things when I was twelve. Who played House with my friends and pretended to drive kids to soccer practice because, surely, that was the epitome of a dreamy future. And being here–in this magical world of loving them–it’s so much more awesome than I could have ever imagined. And yes, ballet recitals and birthday parties and first soccer practices are perhaps cliche’ opportunities to be hit with those tearful moments of pride when really, the deep, the raw, the beautiful real moments of parenthood most often come in the unordinary everyday. But these milestones are gifts. Wake-up calls for me to stand on the side lines and gain the perspective of the bigger picture–the one that says “You’re a mom and that little girl out there with the crooked pigtails to match her crooked smile? She belongs to you.”
She is strong and adventurous and slowly strengthening her little wings that will one day fly unguided. She can hear me cheering, she can see me smiling, she can feel that quiet voice inside me that magically connects to her and it’s saying “you are so freaking cool.”
Practice was ridiculously dreamy with a good breeze, a field full of sun flare, and an eager girl who comfortably kicked the ball and listened to the coach. We followed up with pizza and beer with friends.
And Saturday’s game–well it was just very very funny.
This picture was taken in the middle of a wild ball chase. Like every team member was running together, stuck to the ball, following its course along the grass. Except Lainey and her friend who just stood blocking the field, holding hands and looking at each other because they didn’t know what else to do.
And we’re all laughing and coaxing and watching the coach sweetly nudge. Until both girls ran to us saying they didn’t want to play anymore and poor Lainey cried that there were too many boys.
So we sat this one out.
Brought in Daddy and big brother for a little coaching.
And we’ll be back next week to either watch and cheer our teammates or jump back in and try again. Either way, my little bird will learn to fly on her own time. Just like her sister who’s thinking about those very first steps too.
And “first steps” leads me to something very important today.
This year, we will walk for the second time to celebrate our girl and to support individuals with Down syndrome. On October 22, we will join with friends and family for The Buddy Walk–an emotional celebration and a small representation of what we do in real life. We march forward, we move toward the future, we lean on the support of friends and family and we celebrate our love not only for our child but for the thousands of individuals with Down syndrome who have touched the lives of so many.
If you live in the area, we would love to have you come and support our community by walking with us. If you’d like more details, please e-mail me at [email protected].
And if you can’t walk with us, we’d love to have you help us support the National Down Syndrome Society by making a donation–any donation you can–to Nella’s Rockstars’ Buddy Walk fund. All proceeds benefit the NDSS whose mission is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.
We’ve witnessed the power of your kindness earlier this year when your donations helped us raise $105,000 for Nella’s ONEder Fund. Thank you, thank you. We keep moving forward though and, in efforts to see this double by the time Nella turns two, we’re gearing up again. Click HERE to make a donation, or you can click the “Nella’s Rockstars” button on the right sidebar.
Thank you for your continued support. Truly, thank you.
Tomorrow, we will return with a Hallmark sponsored post on our Fall traditions. Of course, I hate talking about that, so it will be no fun at all.