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I am a proud mom today, and this is why:

My granddaughters play in an indoor soccer league on Saturday mornings. I love indoor soccer — no wet grass, the weather isn’t too hot or too cold for either the participants or their adoring fans — and I love watching the kids play hard. But there is a little guy on the pre-K/Kinder team who hangs onto his mom sobbing when it is time to warm up and play. She has to pry his fingers off her arms to go and sit down, and he continues to sob as the game begins. I don’t know his story or why he is so upset, but he certainly is.

This morning after the game got started, Georgia went to give her youngest a pep talk over at the players’ bench, and this little guy was sitting in the next seat. And after talking with her daughter and watching her teammate a bit, she asked him what was wrong. “They didn’t tell me there would be so many people,” was his answer. They visited quietly for a few minutes, and she encouraged him to go out and play, telling him once he got out there he might find he liked it. Then she asked his name so she could cheer for him.

Soon the coach substituted some players in and out, and he was ready to get into the game. He was a bit hesitant, but the tears were gone and after he connected with the ball a couple of times, a smile appeared. We cheered for him by name, as did his mom, who looked pleasantly surprised.

Will he play willingly next week? I don’t know. But he might, and if he does, it will be because an adult he didn’t know was paying attention and took the time to nourish his spirit. Seemingly small things can make huge differences in the life of a child. And make moms very proud.