This happened the other night with my older daughter, Iris.
I have written a little bit in the past, and less so in the more recent, about some of our struggles with Iris. She has always been anxious and has had at times debilitating social and emotional difficulties. It has been a very, very hard journey, for all of us, and has taken a seemingly insurmountable amount of work to get to where we are now. And where we are now is at an incredibly amazing point in Iris's life.
She is now in fourth grade and is having the best school year of her life. She is making friends, enjoying her school work, exploring new opportunities, connecting with her teacher, and most importantly, building confidence and finding joy.
Matt and I have always been extremely cautious about signing Iris up for extracurricular activities, but after she repeatedly requested to join a basketball team this year, we agreed. Matt signed on to help coach the team, and we crossed our fingers!
After just three practices, the girls had their first game. They played against a team of much more experienced girls, and all of our girls, including Iris, were just trying to figure out the game and get their bearings straight. They all played hard, and I think they all had fun.
Iris, a girl who, as my husband pointed out, will complain about even taking a walk around the block, absolutely loved the game. She not only quickly picked up on how to play, and listened carefully to instructions and feedback (and then went out on the court and executed the recommendations!), and played well with her team, but she just had a lot of fun, too!
I would be remiss in my job as a parent if I also didn't tell you that she also made the only basket that her team got the entire game. Matt had some fancy-ish explanation for the move Iris did to make said basket--I'll admit, it was pretty amazing to watch-- but I don't know a whole lot about basketball so I'll just say it awesome.
After the game Iris was glowing. She was so pumped up, and can't wait to play again.
All of this, from my girl who I thought maybe wouldn't ever be able to join a team, or enjoy sports. Of course, who knows, it's possible in a few weeks she will change her mind and hate the whole thing, but watching her absolutely come alive with joy in a place I never thought she would, was the best feeling in the world.