I’m old enough to have made many mistakes and said things that made me sick thinking about the hurt I may have caused.
The other day I was at a high school tennis match watching my daughter and her team play another local team. Our team lost. Losing has been rare in recent years, but this year we just aren’t as talented as we have been in the past.
On this afternoon, my daughter was outmatched. She was playing another girl who was simply better on this day. She knew it, we knew it - it happens.
After the match, the mother of the girl who had handily defeated my daughter headed straight to her daughter to question her on her performance. “You can’t keep getting in trouble in the second set, especially with players like that girl.”
Maybe she wasn’t a worthy opponent for the lady’s daughter on this afternoon, but one thing is for sure – “That girl” was standing right behind the lady when she said it.
I would like to think that the girl’s mother would not have said such words if she would have known my daughter was within earshot. Again, I note that I have said many things that I would give anything to take back; I’ve even said them to “that girl.”
The next morning, I was looking at “that girl’s” senior pictures and it struck me. This is the last year “that girl” will be living in my house. The tears started flowing while I looked at those pictures and I couldn’t stop thinking about how very special “that girl” is to me.
You see, in a few months, that girl is heading off to college to chase her dreams. Dreams that I honestly know will come true. I know because for almost 18 years, I’ve watched her and I know what that girl is made of and how she thinks and more importantly how she treats others.
With somewhere close to two hundred thousand dollars in scholarship offers, she has chosen to go out of state to school. Granted, none of these offers have anything to do with her ability to play tennis.
The offers have to do with her test scores, her dedication to learning and her perseverance.
Over the years, I’ve watched that girl and I’ve gone in her room every night to check on her. That girl goes to bed every night with her nose in a book. She falls asleep every night with her glasses on.
I’ve watched that girl stand up for herself and more importantly her friends. She can be very stubborn, especially when she needs to be. Being a teenager is tough when you think about the decisions they have to make on a daily basis.
Maybe she could have been a little better tennis opponent, but over the last few years, she spent her time doing other things. Things like getting up early on Sunday mornings to teach Sunday school to first graders, spending Wednesday nights mentoring middle school girls, and afternoons during the week working at our church.
Not because she had to do it, and not because it looked good on a college application. That girl did it because she sincerely enjoys helping others.
As parents, we want our children to know how much we love them and it is nice to know they love us.
For as long as I can remember she has told me “I love you” multiple times a day. The first thing in the morning, the last thing at night, when she goes out the door and when she comes in the door – she always says it and she means it.
As a Daddy and as a person, I can’t put a value on what those words mean to me. I couldn’t afford it if there was a price on it.
Hopefully, your child means the same to you.
Again, I would like to say that I’m not mad, as a matter of fact – I’m thankful.
I appreciate your noticing “that girl.”
She means the world to me.
Cranks My Tractor
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I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs and knowing the "real score."
Copyright, BN Heard