One of our hopes and dreams was that our daughter (who we named *partially* after the Chelsea soccer team in England), would play soccer. Since a
When it was almost soccer season, Andrew signed up to coach her team and we were all REALLY excited to start! Chelsea tried on her soccer gear and was especially fond of the pink shin guards, pink ball, and pink shoes.
I was really excited to see her play, but remembered her reaction to the first couple of dance classes she took last year and knew that she might be a little hesitant to jump right in, which she was, and I was okay with it that first practice. But after the second practice, I was pretty disappointed...
Recently, I discovered that I've had this subconscious picture of how my oldest child should be and how that was affecting my parenting. I'm a little ashamed to say that in some instances, I haven't been very accepting of who she is because I was too busy trying to force her into this mold of who I thought she should be, or who I wanted her to be.
It all occurred to me on Sunday at choir practice when one of the singers brought his daughter who sat next to him reverently and even participated in the choir with her own, gentle voice. I turned to look at her a couple of times and thought, "That would not be my daughter," but not in a negative, or disappointed tone. I had the thought and I laughed to myself. I realized that the reason my daughter wouldn't sit still and participate the way this sweet little girl did is because that's not the kind of little personality that she is. My dad really put it in perspective when he pointed out that when Chelsea gets together with the cousins, she's running around with the boys!
So why am I trying to force her to be someone she's not?
So, my four-year-old would rather be running around instead of sitting still in church. So, she'd rather be outside jumping in leaves than learning the alphabet with me. So, she's not always happy or polite when she's meeting new little friends, or she'd rather flop down on the field when she's frustrated. She's only four years old and she is constantly learning and constantly growing. And she is awesome, exactly the way she is. High-energy and all!
... Well, after that second practice/game, she went to her third game and acted like those other two had never happened. She made friends with the girls on her team, kicked the ball around, participated, and even scored TWO GOALS! Andrew and I were so proud!
If you look closely at Andrew in the background, you can see he has a big 'ol smile on his face!
Should I accept all of Chelsea's behavior and just say "it's who she is?" No. I definitely do not want my daughter to grow up and give strangers the stink eye for the rest of her life, just because she doesn't know them (or whatever the reason is behind that look). That is something we have to work on. But I'm done trying to turn her into some kind of quiet, gentle, meek little creature that she simply isn't. I am going to love and accept her for the loud, rambunctious, energetic, passionate, particular little person that she is and stop trying to quash all that strong-will out of her or make her feel ashamed of who she is.
Most importantly, I want her to know that her mother loves her, every part of her, and that she will always have someone who accepts and loves her,
no matter what.