Mary’s Story

Mary is a fairly typical 12 year old girl. She does well in school, has plenty of friends and loves sports. She lives in Southern California so she’s outside a lot. She likes the beach, plays piano and, being a bit of a tomboy, even rides a skateboard.

But what she really loves is playing soccer. She plays on a local AYSO team and she’s pretty good. She hasn’t got the greatest skills in the world but she’s fast and aggressive and can beat most people to the ball. She’s kind of tall and lanky and a little uncoordinated but she doesn’t let it bother her. She loves to chase people down and win the ball. She loves to go forward and she’s even scored a few goals in her ‘career’.

For the past couple of years Mary’s Mom has been the coach of her soccer team. She’s pretty cool but can be a little overbearing sometimes. She played soccer in college and takes her team seriously. Sometimes she seems more wrapped up in it than the girls on the team. She’s a good coach and can be fun at practice but she really likes to win so there’s an expectation that everyone should be as into it as her. She doesn’t yell at the girls when they mess up but you can tell she gets frustrated.

She’s never said it but Mary knows her Mom wishes she was a better player. She does her best but she’s just not as good as some of the other girls.

It was the end of the season and time to pick the All-Star team. For the first time Mary’s Mom was going to be the coach of the All-Star team. Mary had never been an All-Star but as far back as she could remember the coach’s kid always made the team. Mary was super excited. She knew she was good enough to make the team but with her Mom as the coach it was a ‘lock’. She’d dreamed of being an All-Star and she was finally going to make the team.

Mary went to bed that night while her Mom and all the other coaches were picking the team with dreams of All-Stardom in her head. But when she woke up the next morning her Mom told her she hadn’t made the team.

Mary was devastated. She was so humiliated she almost couldn’t go to school that day. All her friends would know even her Mom didn’t think she was good enough.

The sense of unworthiness and shame was almost too much to bare. Why did she feel guilty? Did she do something wrong? Why did her Mom hate her?

Later on one of the other coaches who was her friend finally told her what had happened. Her Mom had purposely not put her on the team because she thought the best players should make the team. It was something about ‘principle’. She couldn’t in good conscience put Mary on the team while a ‘better’ player didn’t make it.

Mary didn’t buy any of it. It just sucked and so did her mom.

Mary played soccer for a few more years, only because her Mom got a new job and didn’t have time to coach anymore. But the magic had gone out of it.

More and more Mary found herself drawn to her piano. She became lost in the music and it wasn’t long before she got really good. She ended up forming a cover band with some of her friends from High School. They actually were pretty good and played at school dances, parties and even opened for a few bigger bands at some local clubs. That band was the start of a love affair with music that led to experiences, friendships and a career she’d never dreamed of.

But all the while Mary held a grudge against her Mom that lasted well into adulthood. Those initial feelings of frustration and betrayal sometimes built into full blown rage.

That rage softened a bit when Mary had a daughter of her own. She had a new appreciation for how hard it is to raise a child and had a little more sympathy for a lot of the things her Mom had done when she was a kid. But early on she vowed to do everything in her power to not put her own daughter through what her Mom had put her through with that stupid All Star thing.

She found that was easier said than done.

One day, when her daughter was a teenager and had stormed out of the house, pissed off about something or other, Mary stopped dead in her tracks. She knew her daughter was just being a teenager and soon they’d make up and all would be well, but a chill when up her spine when she though of how devastated she’d be if her daughter really did hate her.

What if they were never friends again? What would she do if that bond they’d had since she was a baby was suddenly shattered? Instantly she realized what her Mom must have felt, must still be feeling, when Mary estranged herself from her.

Mary sat down and called her Mom.

Comments are closed.