Dear Soccer Ball,
I wonder if you ever made it to Africa. Did you make a child happy? You spent a lot of time just hanging out in the garage collecting dust. When the soccer club asked for donations of soccer balls, shin pads and shoes, we thought of you.
Giving you away was a ‘feel good’ moment, but it felt like a ‘how to fail your kid’ kind of day. That day I downplayed my daughter’s attachment to you. She was upset when we put you in the donation box and she cried when we drove home.
I wasn’t expecting that reaction from her. My daughter has a big heart, she is a generous, loving girl willing to help anyone. We tried to talk her into believing this was the right thing to do.
It would have been so easy to turn the van around and pick you out of the pile. If I could go back and change that day, that’s what I would have done. My daughter didn’t need a lecture on being selfish. She needed you and I let her down.
The rest of the day I felt guilty for giving you away and ashamed for lecturing her. It was not my place to take you anywhere, and I had no business telling her how she should feel. You weren’t just a ball, you were her favourite ball, her lucky ball.
I told her we would go back the next day and get you, but when we got there, you were long gone. Giving you away was my daughter’s decision to make not mine. If she couldn’t part with you, she wasn’t being selfish, she just wasn’t ready to let you go.
Years have passed, and sometimes I think of that day, and I wish I could go back and do it over. I told my daughter many times how awful I felt.
You taught me a lesson that day and I have never forgotten it. Don’t trivialize my children’s feelings and don’t give their stuff away without permission.
I will always remember you and the lessons I learned that day.