I have been proud of Julia on many occasions. I was so proud of her when she performed at her most recent flute recital. I was proud of her when she was a four year old dancing away in a pink tutu and ballet slippers on a stage that was way to large for her little body. I am always proud of the way she stands up for her brother Jackson and how she protects her baby brother James. I am proud of her when she shows empathy to others and when she stops and takes the extra time to do the right thing. I am even proud of her when her compassion for snails adds a extra few minutes to our morning routine. You see the snails like to hang out by my tires and Julia must make sure that all 4 tires are clear before we exit the driveway.
But I have to say this past weekend I could not be any prouder of my daughter Julia. Two days and four soccer games later Julia and her team have become finalist in the sectional playoffs for her soccer league. For a season that was supposed to end back in November we are still going strong into February. Coming from a swimmer I have no clue what it's like to be in a team sport. I swam because I never had to depend on anyone but myself for my glory. If I lost, I lost by myself, if I won, I won by myself. But seeing Julia alongside 8 other little girls and playing with all her might was amazing, it was thrilling and it was just plain fun. She fought alongside one of the hardest players in the region and wasn't afraid to get a little physical. I was bursting from the seams when I saw her rumble and shake up these tough girls, some who were 2 times bigger than she was. A few tears came out, mostly from frustration (both her and I). She took a hit in the face and before the blood started to come from her nose she gave that ball a few more kicks to get it going in the right direction, away from her teams goal and then dropped to the ground. I saw a determination in Julia that I can't put into words. To see such my daughter, my baby work so hard at accomplishing one thing and watching her grow with each game and each practice has been nothing short of amazing. I don't ever want to forget this part of her life. I don't ever want her to forget that feeling and desire for accomplishment and proof that with hard work and a bit of crazy she can do anything.