I was trying out for a co-ed hockey team. One boy and one girl would be cut from the team. It was clear that I was the least skilled girl on the ice. But what I lacked in skill, I made up for in effort. I could actually feel myself push beyond my limits each time it was my turn. But when it was scrimmage time and when the line with all the girls except me scored a goal against the boys, I knew my chance of making the team were quickly fleeting. And sure enough, my best efforts just weren't enough. I didn't make the team. And it broke my heart. I wanted to make the team so bad. Even though I was still in front of everyone, I cried. (And I never cry in front of people.) I couldn't. stop. crying.
And then I woke up from the dream. But there were real tears.
The dream made me think about when I didn't make the traveling soccer team in fifth grade. But I vaguely remember the day, talking to the coach on the phone in my parents' bedroom. Listening to him tell me that it was close, but I wasn't going to be able to play on the team. He told me to keep practicing and that he wanted me to try out again next year.
But at that point, I wasn't really listening. After he said goodbye, I started crying. I felt like I failed. I knew it was going to be so humiliating at school the next day when my friends and teacher asked me what team I made. I'd have to tell them I didn't make any team -- or I made the "c" team as in cut. I didn't want to disappoint my parents. My dad coached and practiced with me, so I was sure that I had disappointed them even as they assured me that I hadn't. They told me they still loved me and gave me hugs.
When I didn't make the soccer team in fifth grade, I felt like an outsider. At my friend's birthday party that summer, it was basically the whole soccer team plus me. They had their inside jokes that they laughed at and I just sort of chuckled along not knowing what they were laughing at, but I didn't want to be the only one not laughing, either. I just felt like I didn't belong.
This morning as those memories from so long ago flooded my mind, the tears flew harder and faster. Why was I crying about something that happened almost 20 years ago? I looked at the clock and it was 6:00 a.m.
It wasn't the first time I was awake at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Four weeks ago, I awoke to terrible cramping and pain knowing that the time had come for my baby to miscarry. The pain was almost unbearable. I lay there whimpering as my husband slept soundly next to me. I guess I could have waked him, but he was sleeping and I knew if I woke him he would worry. So instead I said a little prayer asking God to take my baby. And I seriously felt my baby be pulled from me. And sure enough, the pain subsided and I slipped back into sleep.
Realizing the significance of the time, my dream started making a little more sense. Many of the feelings that I felt when didn't make the soccer team, I've felt since the miscarriage.
For a long, long time Dave and I have wanted a baby. I did everything I was supposed to do. I took my multi-vitamin and I didn't eat lunch meat. But something out of my control happened and I didn't make the team this season. Instead, I'm watching the baby bumps on my co-workers grow bigger from the sidelines. I'm looking at pictures of ultra-sounds and brand new baby pictures on Facebook. Believe it or not, I'm happy for every one else. Still, when I ask about the latest doctor's visit, I can feel the caution people make towards me as they talk about their baby. It's like they're hesitant and don't want to hurt my feelings. Yes, I'm sad about my baby, but I can still be happy for you. I still want to celebrate your moment with you. But please don't ignore me and make me an outsider. It hurts more to not only lose a baby, but also to feel like you don't belong.
I didn't quit playing soccer in fifth grade. I went to some camps and kept practicing. I tried out for the team again in sixth grade and I. made. the. team. Just like I overcame those struggles as a kid, we will come back and we will have our baby.