My father died when I was 16 years old.  I was a sophomore in high school.  

He was very sick during my sophomore year of soccer and was only able to go to the games that I was a freshman varsity starter. He was very proud of me, and I enjoyed being able to make him feel that way.  He died right after my sophomore soccer season, but was never able to go to any of my games during that time.   

 I threw myself into working, which I believe helped provide, in a way, for my mom and me (as my dad had done for us for so many years).  After soccer ended during my senior year of high school, for a period of time I had three jobs (going half days to school) to make as much money as I could for college.  

 I was offered a scholarship for playing soccer to a small college in Connecticut, but made the decision to turn it down because there weren’t enough degree choices available to me.  I ended up going to a larger college in Connecticut with a wider variety of degrees.  I decided to play soccer and was accepted on their team, but quickly realized I would have had a very hard time providing for myself with a commitment to the college soccer team. I ended up deciding to quit. 

Basically, I have been working since then, and have become a mother to a daughter, who is now a beautiful soccer player. She has gone to her first try out for the Olympic Development Program (which is right now). People have been watching her from the sidelines, often commenting on her skills, ability, strength and fearlessness.  All I can think of is how proud I am of her, not just for these reasons, but because she has made a choice to become better; to not think she is the best, but to realizing and putting in the work she needs to become the best player she can be.  

My daughter has ADHD and anxiety, which has given us challenges, like having a school principal tell me that my daughter basically didn’t “fit in” his school, and having a teacher tell me she didn’t think my daughter was “that smart.”   I’ve fought for her many times, I will continue to do so, and so will she.  She’s been taught to never be a victim, but a warrior.  There will always be challenges to face, but they can be more difficult or frequent for someone living with a disability.   As a young human, my daughter is aware of those challenges and works every day to overcome them.  

I understand how proud my father was of me, then, because of how proud I am of my daughter, now (although I think I’m even a little more proud of her!! ha-ha.)

No matter what happens, what obstacles she comes across, I want her to keep playing the sport that speaks to her, never stopping like I did, no matter what.  This is one of the things my father’s death taught me, and I think I just figured that out today as I pour these feelings out in this post.  

I will teach her through my mistakes and successes to help her live her best life.

Not focusing on regretting gives me the ability/lessons to grow for myself and teach my child to be her best self.

I will do what I can as a parent, as her best friend and biggest supporter, to keep her following her passion and using her gifts. I will let no one stand in the way of that; no teacher, no principal, no coach.

I will have the right people (if my choice) who can help mold my daughter into the person and player she can be, and the rest of the people... should just provide a learning example to help her keep pushing through the bullshit and overcome!

Life can teach us unfair lessons, but it’s what we do with those lessons that makes them easier to handle and gives that hardship a purpose, so it isn’t for nothing. 

”Everything happens for a reason” - quote said by probably another but always said by my father.   

“Just make that reason count.”. - Sarah Lacko