It feels like the last couple of weeks I keep smacking up against unfairness in forms both trivial and profound.
M finished the days-long process of trying out for her school soccer team. She worked really hard, as did many other kids, and she was relieved and excited to get onto the JV team. I was pretty confident that we’d end up with that outcome, but it was still good to have it settled. But, gosh, it is tough to watch girls you know and like get cut, especially when the process doesn’t seem entirely fair or, as the girls get older, getting cut can mean you’re effectively done with school ball for good. I stood there waiting for M and watched these girls walk to their mothers who were waiting, hearts in their throats, in parked cars, and I didn’t even say hello because I didn’t want to distract them from their effort to keep their composure until they were safely out of sight. It was so sad.
Meanwhile, I worked myself into a bit of a lather over this dress code infraction passed along by a friend of a friend. Which touched off a Facebook conversation in which I heard about another friend’s daughter who’d gotten “coded” at my daughters’ middle school over an outfit that is remarkably similar to outfits I’ve seen many girls wearing multiple times. It just feels like the whole process is way too subjective. I’m just filled with white-hot rage about these girls who are not trying to be sexy or scandalous at all. They’re just trying to go to school, and then someone makes them feel really awful and ashamed. I might have to do a full-on rant post about this general topic in the future, but meanwhile I just feel this acute heartache for these specific girls. It’s not fair.
But these are nothing compared to the news that one of M’s Black Watch teammates has been diagnosed with cancer. It sucks. She’s starting treatment tomorrow. This girl is the far-and-away star of their soccer team and an unbelievable bad-ass, so she will get through this. Cute W and I were laughing, wondering if he’s gotten a good photo of her when she’s looking super-scary and pissed on the soccer field, because it could start a great anti-cancer meme. But even with her amazing spirit and a pretty good prognosis, it is profoundly awful that she and her family have to go through with this, that she’ll have to miss school and her school’s soccer season, that she’ll spend tomorrow going through a battery of procedures, any one of which would ruin a person’s day. The girls and families from the team are all spinning in circles trying to figure out what they can do to help. One team mom got her an “I Got U” bracelet with matching bracelets for the teammates, and the team got together for a pre-chemo party, but beyond that, we’re spinning our wheels. Cute W started out collecting donations with the idea that we’d get gift certificates to restaurants or something, but the more we all thought about it, the more we didn’t want to burden them with having to keep track of cards or where to go, and all of us parents are wringing our hands and desperate to do something. So finally today Cute W just ended up dropping by their house with a card and an envelope stuffed with cash, which he handed over and fled before he could start crying (again). So if you can send along prayers or health vibes, that would be awesome.
Meanwhile an anniversary turned up on Facebook that made me realize that one of my newer friends had lost a daughter to cancer before we met each other. She shared a long-ago video of her singing that feels like one of those otherworldly experiences, like a freaking Hallmark movie where the heroine is lovely and optimistic and faithful and angelic. It is such a profound loss and an earthquake shift in my perception of her mom. A good reminder that everyone’s got all sorts of things going on that are not readily apparent, and that we need to treat each other with kindness. Which is particularly appropriate because on the anniversary of her death, her family asked people to do a random act of kindness in her memory.
I feel like none of these things are entirely my business to write about, so I’m staying brief (and a little bit vague) intentionally. But I really can’t move on and write about anything chirpy and funny until I at least mention what’s been occupying so much of my thoughts lately.
Here’s to brave girls everywhere. May they prevail against all of life’s unfairness, and may they always feel our deep love through the struggle.