Thin Places

As I mentioned last week, with some degree of fear and
trepidation, we signed Penny up for her first week of tennis lessons (see “The Perils of 4-Year Old Tennis“). She
donned her white shorts and t-shirt and showed up. The other kids out there
were taller (by about six to eight inches). They were older. They had been
playing tennis for at least a year, if not two (Penny had one day of practice
with her dad). And they only had 46 chromosomes.

If I had been in Penny’s shoes, that’s all I would have seen.
That the other kids could hit the ball back and forth over the net. That they
moved their feet to position their bodies appropriately. That they scampered
around the court. Even at age four and a half, I’m pretty sure, had I been in
Penny’s shoes, that I would have finished every lesson and considered myself a

But every day, when Penny walked off the court, she beamed. “I
hit the ball, Mom!” Sure enough, she had hit the ball, approximately one out of
every ten times it came towards her. “I was a good listener!” True–the instructor
commented that Penny paid attention better than her older and abler peers. She
summed it all up: “I did a great job!”

If only I could bring a little bit of my daughter back to my
own competitive, achievement-oriented, childhood self. If only I could tell
myself as a little girl to pay attention to what I could do, to focus on the
times I succeeded instead of brooding over the times I failed, to pay no
attention to the abilities of the people around me. If only I could be a little
more like Penny. 

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