Watching Savannah play the last couple of years was depressing. Her High School team was so terrible I often asked myself “does anybody know how to play the game here?” Savannah would consistently send the ball into play and her wings & forwards would watch the ball sail past them. Nobody was pushing up into space. They lost too many goal shots. As it were, the team only won one game last season.
The club team wasn’t much better. Most of the core groups of girls that Savannah played with since her start as a little U-11 had left the team, for one reason or another. The new girls didn’t seem to have the work ethic and the chemistry needed to win. This spring/summer Savannah didn’t even play with the team. She knew the fire wasn’t there anymore, that it wouldn’t work out well.
This Fall Savannah started at Berkeley. They have a Cal Women’s soccer team in addition to their Division 1 squad. This is a highly competitive club traveling team that plays other university teams in CA and AZ. The caliber of play is very high. Better than a Premier Club team. They had two player slots open up and over 75 girls tried out. Savannah was one of the two players to make the cut.
Several weeks ago I had an opportunity to see Savannah play at a tournament in Santa Barbara. When I saw the first minute of play I went “whoa, these girls know how to play!” It was fun again watching, a night-and-day difference from the last team. The whole team played very, very well. Oh, and she started both games that day. She is settling into Berkeley quite well, don’t you think?
I’m sitting on the back patio, and I am exhausted.
Yesterday was Savannah’s move-in day at Berkeley. The moment I anticipated since the day Savannah was born. It came and went in a flash. Not fast in the sense of the past 18 years. More like a wedding day, where you spend months planning out and when the big day arrives it blurs into a melange of breakfast / dress / limo / wedding / limo / pictures / reception / dinner / dance / cake / shots / limo / hotel madness. You never have a moment to think about what exactly it is that’s going down. Yesterday was the same sensation. One minute I’m packing up the car in the pre-dawn and the next moment it’s near midnight and I’m putting Douglas to bed. That’s when it hit me.
Truth be told, Savannah was ready to move on. She is an adult, mature and confident. It’s her job to move out of the house, to strike it out on her own. I’m very proud of Savannah. I hope she sees the world around her. I hope she experience all the beauty this world contains. I hope Savannah find what she loves, at her work and with herself and with someone special. But the natural progression of children moving on still hurts. Because your children are running around out there carrying a bit of your heart with them.
This photo Alexandra took is analogous of what’s going on in our lives. Savannah emerging into the sunlight and I, transitioning into the background.
I’m looking forward to the days Courtney and Douglas go off to school. That’s when I know I’ve done my job.
Savannah joined the first year of the GreenHounds as a Freshman. Four years later she is part of the first graduating class of GreenHounds. There were times I thought she was too obsessive about it, given the amount of work she was putting in.
So, we’re at the awards ceremony. There were four scholarships being awarded, three for $300 and one for $1,000. The MC announces the three $300 recipients. We’re sitting in the front row, with the three sub-recipients right in front of us. It doesn’t yet hit me.
The MC begins his speech about the $1,000 recipient. Now the MC, Mr. C, is a phenomenal teacher. We got to know each other when I chaperoned several HS field trips over the years. He’s very supportive of my daughters, plus he’s a really cool guy. Anyway, he goes on about how this award winner is a special person, how she puts in above-and-beyond, how she steered the organization through it’s troublesome formative year. Alex starts shaking my arm and I look over at her.
She and Douglas are quietly ecstatic. Alex whispers in my ear “He’s talking about Savannah”, Douglas gives me a big thumbs-up and he’s got the biggest grin on ever. I don’t want to believe it, how could this be real after all our family has gone through? Why now? Why this good fortune years later?
It was then I looked up and saw the three girls. They were all Savannah’s friends, the core of the GreenHounds. They had put in the extra time on Sundays. They were 3 of the 4 “Gang of GreenHounds”. I thought “Savannah’s not there, why not?”
One of the girls catches my eye. She’s a great, great kid, a close friend of Savannah. She’s got tears in her eyes, and she’s staring at me. Bam! It hits me. My daughter is going to get the award! I go numb. Mr. C announces it. Savannah walks up and accepts it.
I don’t know what to feel now. I hope that I have been a big part of her metamorphous into a wonderful adult. I hope my steadfastness gave her good memories. I miss our walks in the woods when she was a little girl. I want those days back.
Savannah is going to leave off for college in a few short months. I know it’s her job to go out into the world. I know it’s the right thing. That doesn’t numb the pain of thinking about her leaving.
A child’s bond with his or her parents is the most precious thing in the universe. It is special and very important to a child’s healthy development.
Why some of my neighbors and in-laws suggested to my kids that I had something to do with their Mom’s death is unfathomable. Their meddling into a situation that they had no understanding of is reprehensible.
Those seeds of doubt they planted into my children’s minds has done more harm than their grieving over their Mother’s death. For that, I can never forgive them.
Yesterday was the first Beach Day for the McCarthy Family since school started. It was also the first time that all three kids, Alex and I were going to the beach together. I think Alex was looking forward to this more than the kids.
We packed the car with our beach essentials – boogie boards, beach chairs, surfboard, frisbee, footballs, sand toys, wetsuits, shovels and a cooler of food. We arrive at 11am in Morro Strand beach off of 24th street in Cayucos to clear, calm and warm weather.
Courtney and I spent a good part of the day boogie boarding. Douglas and I dug a big hole in the beach. Alex and I threw the frisbee and football a lot, she’s quite good at both. Savannah enjoyed the break from her homework and practice. It was the most fun we have had together in a long, long time.
Next week is the end of Winter Sports. Savannah will be playing her last soccer game as a Junior and Courtney will play her last Water Polo game as a Freshman. Both of them had excellent seasons.
They get a short break, then it’s on to Spring Sports – Track and Swimming. Sometimes I wonder if the food budget will hold up. Everyone in this house is so active. I wouldn’t want it any other way.