My oldest daughter graduated from high school this year. Between her and her three younger siblings, all of whom are involved in multiple activities, you can imagine the hectic schedule of banquets, awards ceremonies, games, etc. Not that the schedule isn’t always busy, but the end of the year stuff just adds a whole other dimension.

Of course, at these activities, I always watch for my kids and their friends, but there is one collective group in particular that I always watch for – my old softball team. I coached my oldest daughter’s softball team from second grade up through seventh grade. With one exception, we kept the same 14 girls on the team the whole time.

We were always a middle of the pack team. Never finished first and never finished last. Even though it was technically a competition, it was way more of a social event for our girls. Even in 6th grade, I had to remind the girls that “home team” means we bat second.

While all of the girls have gone to high school together, only a few are in my daughter’s core group of friends, so I have always relied on the athletic events, concerts, ceremonies, etc. to know how/what they are doing.

I have to tell you this is a group of girls who has done very well. When you think of all of the changes you have to deal with, and decisions that have to be made, as you move from elementary to middle to high school, it could easily be overwhelming. Well, I know I’m glad I only had to do it once! While they may seem like simple decisions looking back from our adult worlds, any change (for any of us) can seem monumental at the time.

I have been so proud of, and watched with such admiration, the accomplishments of these softball players. They have become National Merit Scholars, National Honor Society members, class Salutatorian, cheerleaders, and class officers; they have received scholarships for academics, music, and athletics (none for softball : | ), and distinguished service awards. And the list goes on.

Especially over the last couple of years, it has been obvious that these little girls I remember from the ball field had become young ladies. I have to tell you, as proud as I was of each of them, I was more than a little sad at graduation to know how close they were to moving on to being “responsible adults”.

After the graduation, the school hosted an after-graduation party which included silly games, a hypnotist, those big inflatable balloons you jump in, and a magician, among other activities. While it all looked like fun, my first thought was that these graduating seniors would think it was all too childish.

Well, I have to tell you, I was wrong. And, as proud as I have been of all of their accomplishments, I was even more proud to watch those girls run around acting silly and playing like they were still little kids. Of all the things I hope for each of them, the ability to always play like little kids is at the top of the list. That is a wish I wish for all of us.


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