I received the best Mother’s Day gift from my daughter this last week. I was and still am so emotional and so full of love for my daughter that I had to share this story with you.
When my daughter, Marisa, told me that she was going to join the tennis team at Valley High School four years ago in her freshman year, I was pleasantly surprised. She joined the team having never played tennis in her life.
By Marisa’s junior year she made it on the varsity team. This was no easy feat since there were really excellent players on the team. She ranked #8 on the team which meant she didn’t get to play many matches other than exhibition matches. This was a turning point for my daughter. I could see in her the hunger, the will and the drive to be a better player. She worked hard all last summer taking private lessons and was ready for her senior year.
There were eight girls on the varsity team, all seniors. At the beginning of the season Marisa was ranked near the bottom. She had to prove herself. She challenged player after player, they challenged her too, and eventually she made it to the #4 position on the team. She played both doubles and singles, AND she was voted team co-captain!
Valley won the District title and was headed to the state tournament. My daughter and her doubles partner made it to the quarter final round in the individual tournament, a way to rank players in the state. Next up was the team tournament. This is where I received the most wonderful gift that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Marisa and her doubles partner lost their match against La Cueva. Marisa had to play against a really tough competitor from La Cueva in singles. She was down 0-5 in the first set. The girl from La Cueva questioned my daughter about the score during a game. Marisa doesn’t appreciate anyone challenging her about the score, she doesn’t cheat.
All of a sudden, she won the next game, then the next, then the next, until the score was 5-5. Then it was 6-5, then 6-6. The set went into a tiebreaker. The girl from La Cueva won the tiebreaker and the set.
As the other girls on the Valley team finished up their matches, they came to watch Marisa and cheer her on for her final set. What my daughter didn’t know was that Valley had already won enough matches to advance to the semi-finals. She assumed that the team would only get to advance if she won her match.
She started losing steam. She lost the second set and the match. I could see she was in tears thinking she had let her team down. The other girls ran on the court and told her they were advancing! Happy tears were now flowing. She told me later that she was crying with every serve she hit thinking she had let her team down.
Fast forward to the semi-finals. Valley had to play an outstanding Mayfield team from Las Cruces. Valley only won one match and didn’t get to advance further. There's no way to determine whether Valley would have been ranked 3rd or 4th in the state since there wasn't a match to determine that, but us moms are claiming 3rd place. Eldorado eventually won state and my daughter said she was happy about that because the girls on their team were so nice and it was an Albuquerque team that took the title.
So what was the gift that I received after all of this? The gift of seeing my daughter play the best tennis of her life and the gift of seeing her hard work, her patience and her determination to succeed. I know this will translate into her everyday life and anything she chooses to do.
I wish I could take credit for her amazing attitude, but honestly, it really does take a village. I would like to say thank you to her two grandmas, her aunts, cousins and her coaches who supported her all four years.
I also want to say Happy Mother's Day to all the other moms whose daughters were on the Valley team. I imagine they are all feeling the same way that I do!
I love you Marisa. You have made me the proudest mom ever!