It's amazing that first time you see your child smile with their precious, pudgy baby face.... and even more amazing when you cheer them on for their very first wobbly little steps. You cry when they stand on the big stage and graduate from preschool...... and you're so very proud when they walk down that 1st grade hall to go into their first "big-kid" classroom.
But, I swear, none of that comes close to how proud I was of Madison Wednesday night.
Madison, (like her mama) is a complex creature. Most would say she's pretty tough, sure of herself..... confident even. But if you get close..... if you really get to know her, you start to see that maybe that's not really the case. Madison has had a rough couple of years that began with a situation with a teacher in 2nd grade, and then these topsy-turvy pre-teen years started. There are cliques at school...... boys to like...... boys who don't like you back..... zits to get rid of..... kids who seem smarter..... the list goes on and on. It's easy to become a little insecure.
As her mom, it kills me. That child has so much potential....... that is, if she would just believe in herself. So this Spring, after watching her hitting baseballs in the yard with her dad, I decided to sign her up for softball. I knew she would protest (and protest she did!), but I put my foot down and said you HAVE to...... you must do this for yourself. Jonathan and I felt that a team sport was just what she needed........ however, I had NO IDEA how competitive softball is at her age. I will admit I was sweating bullets through the first few practices and games. Most of the girls had been playing 3-4 years already...... Madison was a first-timer.
Madison's my child who gives up after the first try if she's not the best at something, so I was pretty nervous this would be a REALLY LONG season. But you know what? She surprised me. She wasn't the best on the team...... she was facing a huge learning curve..... but she did it with grace and a great attitude. She never seemed to get too down on herself if she made a mistake, instead, she'd get right back up there and try it again. She listened to her coaches, learned alot and made some really sweet friends. I have been utterly AMAZED that she hasn't complained about anything through 3 months of 3 nights a week practices and games. That has never happened before.
So on to why I'm so proud........ Wednesday night Madison's team had a game against the best team (by far!) in the league. Their pitcher is nothing short of phenomenal. She looks like she should be playing in high school or college even though this is the 9-10 year old league. Those balls come so fast at the batters, sometimes you'll even hear the crowd gasp a little. We've been lucky that a few of our games against this team have been rained out, so Madison has only had to face this pitcher once the entire season. Poor thing, she flinched and jumped back every time the ball came at her. Like I told her later..... "honey, I would have done the same thing..... mama's just proud of you for getting up there and trying."
So I was a little worried when it was Madison's time to bat on Wednesday....... I kept thinking, "Just get up there and hold your own. It'll be over soon." And what do you know, but Madison hit the first ball that came at her........ she fouled and eventually struck out, but she hit it! NO ONE, even the best hitters on her team, have been able to do that. So the next time she went up to bat, it was the end of the game, 9-0 (we were losing) and there were 2 outs. The ball came flying and to mine and everyone else's amazement, Madison hit the ball...... HIGH and it rocketed to the outfield!!! I started screaming and jumping and cheering like a crazy person!! I have never seen her so proud of herself when she turned around at first base and looked at me with this amazingly huge grin.
The game was soon over, but afterward everyone was hugging Madison and her coaches were so happy for her, too. One of them even came and gave her the game ball and all her teammates started signing it telling her what an awesome hit she had. That night, Madison kept saying, "Mama, my coach said nobody can hit against her, and I did. I did it."
There are tears in my eyes right now as I write about it. I don't care if she tries and fails, I just want her to try....... to believe that she can do anything. I know the Lord was watching out for her..... I know He answered my prayers. I am so grateful.
I missed taking a picture of the actual hit, but I did snap a few right before she hit the ball and a few right after........
This is taken a few minutes later when the batter after her struck out and the game ended.
Look at that grin....
Look at that grin....
Jonathan was working and missed the game, and even though Madison was supposed to go to a friend's to spend the night, she asked me to take her home first so that she could tell her daddy all about her big night and he could see that game ball with all her friends' praises first hand.
Wish you all could have been there to see it!