I still struggle with my decision to let Ashlyn be manager of the girls’ high school soccer team.
I pick her up every afternoon from practice, holding my breath a bit, hoping that practice went well and that the girls were kind.
Kind and teenager girls do not normally go together.
After practice the other day Ashlyn informed me that she had started working out with the girls.
My heart caught.
Autism and poor coordination and difficulty with gross motor tasks and the possibility that her participation caused an extra stare or two, sent that tingling nervous feeling traveling up my chest.
I began quizzing her on the workout, hoping to spy any bit of ridicule through her retelling of the events, my mind already spinning as to how we would handle this one. Should I talk to the coach? Should we work on educating the girls a bit more on autism? Should I even let her return?
And then she got to the part about running laps.
“I even ran with the girls, Mom. They finished way before me and then they were all staring at me while I ran.”
There it was.
I felt my face burning a deep shade of red, hoping the steam coming out of my ears was not visible, I asked, “They were staring at you?”
“Yep, they all ran on the side of the track, cheering for me until I got to the finish line.”
My heart caught again but with pride this time and overwhelming relief.
She was in the right place.
In an effort to wrap up any lingering doubts and throw them right out my minivan window, she finished.
“I have more friends than I’ve ever had in my whole life, Mom.”
My teenager has found kind.