We are walking on an early Saturday morning to Matthew’s baseball game. Matt isn’t there so I’ve got the whole gang. I’m pushing Olivia in her stroller (why on earth are the fields so damn far?) with my chair hung over the back, Matthew’s baseball bag on my arm, coffee in one hand and water in the other. I feel so damn proud of myself that we are here on time. Getting four people out of the house solo first thing in the morning is not an easy task, am I right?
We’re walking along to the fields when I realize I know the three young ladies in front of us. They are all wearing black cropped leggings and matching Pink sweatshirts from Victoria’s Secret with their hair up in a ponytail. I say “Hi girls!” and they turn around and wave and say hello. They all have that “we-had-a-sleepover-and-can’t-believe-we’re-up-this-early” look. They all wave and say hi to Olivia and she excitedly waves back. We chat about why they’re here so early (sister’s game) and did they have a fun sleepover (yep!) and how are their summers going (great!) and tell your Moms I said hi! (OK!). As soon as they turn to their field as we continue on to ours, I feel as though I’m going to burst into tears.
In that moment I want so badly for Olivia to be one of them. To know the joy of a best friend and to wear matching outfits. To have the pleasure of going shopping with your friends at the mall and feeling so grown up buying a sweatshirt from Victoria’s Secret. To have a sleepover and share secrets and laughs and midnight snacks. To walk instead of be in a stroller. To be a part of a group of friends like that. To be…typical.
It overwhelms me in that moment. I am devastated, honestly. I have to pull myself together because our field is right around the corner and I certainly can’t start losing it now. So I remind myself that it’s not her wish, it’s mine. She is perfectly content to sit in her stroller and play with her ipad with Uniqua from the Backyardigans on her lap. She has no interest in sleepovers or Pink sweatshirts or swapping secrets. She is blessedly happy hanging out with her Mom and her brothers or wearing her pjs and being in her own room, alone, watching TV. She is happy. She is totally fine. She doesn’t feel like she’s missing out. It’s not her dream, it’s mine.
It’s not her, it’s me.