Here we are again….it’s Soccer Season! This year both big girls are playing which means lots of practices and lots games. Once I got their schedules, I tackled the calendar with color coded highlighters to try and keep it all straight! Thankfully my father-in-law is coaching my oldest daughters team which means two less practices I have to be at a week. Woohoo! Three cheers for Gramps!
Growing up, I never played soccer. Justin, on the other hand, started playing from the time he could walk. He even played all the way through college. Soccer was definitely his first love and it’s fun to see his “soccer-ness” come out on the field. This year he’s assistant coaching both girls’ teams. He gets such a kick out of the fact that I still struggle with remembering which way the ball is supposed to go. I’m more of a “I’ll make the cute hair ribbons” kinda mom.
Last year when Laila was five, she was on her first team called the Pink Unicorns. All the girls were so adorable (and had the cutest hair bows!). It was so fun to watch them play and see their little friendships grow throughout the season. From stealing the ball to scoring goals, it was pretty incredible to watch our Pink Unicorns do so well. Laila really took me by surprise with how much she loved the game. She would come home and beg her older sister to play with her. She would dribble all over the house and practice shooting goals–at our front door!
One Saturday I was helping her put on her pink uniform and like usual, I asked her if she was excited to play. She said “Yes!” and then she said she would be playing in “Beast Mode.” I could feel my lips wanting to curl into a smile. But I held back because I could tell she was serious. I began mentally ticking off how many times I had mentioned the words, and couldn’t even think of one. My only mention of the beast had been in reference to the Disney movie. But this tiny five year old had heard it somewhere and committed the words to memory. And sure enough, on the field her “beast mode” would appear with evidence of scoring, stealing and sprinting the whole game. It was obvious that she had embraced the sentiment with her little heart.
So we adopted the phrase. “Beast Mode” became our mantra for trying your hardest. It became our code words for doing your best. A quick little pick-me-up during a tough game and a reminder of “I know you can do it!”
And then there’s life. Outside the white lines of a soccer field. Where problems can feel bigger than any solution. Where trying hard is sometimes met with disappointment and getting back up it the last thing anyone wants to do. I can think of quite a few times in life where I’ve felt pushed down and really struggled with pulling myself back up. Where not loving myself became a familiar pattern which only led to more destruction. But somewhere on my broken path, God (and a great therapist!) met me there. With one baby step at a time, my heart and life started to transform. Now I barely recognize the girl I only remember in the rear-view mirror of my memory. She is like a dear friend that I once loved like a sister and then lost touch with, only to reunite years later and see that by the grace of God she is ok. That she was stronger than her circumstances. That like Dorothy, she had the answers and the strength all along.
That is what Beast Mode means. That inside of us we are all stronger and more capable than we think. We can rise above, try our best and keep getting back up because we are worth fighting for. I know I need that reminder on an almost daily basis. Life is unpredictable. Which is what makes living very beautiful, but it can also be incredibly difficult.
Having three girls and knowing someday I will have to let them go is terrifying. That they will need to find their own ways and live their own lives in this big world. I hope they always know in their hearts that they are strong and capable. They are loved. They are worth fighting for. And if they forget, I’m happy to remind them of Laila’s wise words.
Where do you find strength? How do you teach your kids about doing their best?