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It struck me as sweet to see my daughter’s softball friends physically embrace her and welcome her back to the team upon her return from her trip to Germany. She’d been upset all the way to the field, and didn’t even want to step out and rejoin the team. We promised her she did not have to play, but that she did have to suit up and be present. Even that sounded too hard to do. After three weeks of being on her own, and cloistered with a different group of young people who toured Berlin, then attended school in Munich, followed by day trips to Austria, the museum at Dachua, fairytale castles, and then sailing on a lake in the Alps, it seemed like such a stress to make the transition back to the softball field. But as soon as she appeared, girls ran towards her, smiling, and saying they’d missed her. And on the sidelines my husband and I were welcomed back, as if we’d gone to China, ourselves.

What a delight. And what a perfect way to have her re-enter her life here at home.

Once in the game, she was right back to making the plays they’d all practiced, clearly still able to do it despite her fears.

It is a contrast to last year’s team that seemed fueled by negativity. Parents and coaches misbehaved thus leading the girls to do the same. This year the parents, coaches, and the young ladies are a pleasure to be with and every time we get together I learn more about how it is we show our love.