7 years old seems to be a tough age...fun, yes, but also tough. Its the age where annoying jokes must be told in repetitive fashion and random educational facts must be spewed in almost Rain Man type ways throughout the day. Seven is a time when they are trying to realize their role in society...how to interact with friends, strangers, adults, family. Its the true start of the smartypants attitude, as they try so desperately to talk with words and inflections that show that they know how to handle this life most of the time. They are trying to not show how needy and reliant they still are on their parents, yet that childishness still creeps out from time to time in sickness, pain, and heartache.
Its the age where they realize that the world is a vast place full of incredible knowledge that must be soaked up and told to everyone around in an attempt to stump the adults in triumphant smartness...even if it is for just a few seconds. I have a feeling that this is just the start of the 15-20 year reign of our children trying to prove that they know more than us.
But 7 is also a fun age. Its the age where friendships for the child become increasingly dear. Its an age where reading opens them up to a huge world of books and understanding. She now loves to shop for clothes and constantly looks for Justice magazines making their way to our mailbox. She tells me what she likes and doesn't like in a way that seems reasonable. Seven years old is the age where they really start thinking about what they want to be when they grow up...in Abby's case, she is set on going to college and being a meteorologist. Its an age where dreams are made, wants and wishes are discussed, and plans are created to achieve these.
This has also been the year where she has started to really enjoy sports. A couple of months ago, while all of her best buddies from school were playing basketball, taking karate, and talking about the upcoming season of flag football (can you tell that a lot of her friends are boys?), Abby asked if she could join another sports team. Our Upward soccer season here is only in the fall, softball was on the other side of town and had weird hours, and Upward baseball was entirely too steaming hot in the middle of the summer to even think about trying again, so I ventured out to look for some spring sport that she might enjoy.
I found a soccer academy close by that started just a couple of years ago and has grown by leaps and bounds. It has both a fall and spring session and has enough players to split the girls and boys up, to where they are playing with people of the same gender (well, except during the rare soccer clinic days). This was a huge plus, as 7 also seems to be the age where male dominance and aggression seems to supersede their more docile younger years where it was difficult to see much of a difference on the playing field. In addition to amazing practices and games that actually teach the foundation of this sport better than any other organization we have been apart of, they also have periodic clinics given by the UF soccer teams. Its a wonderful and fun experience for everyone involved. Abby was quite hesitant at first. We branched out of our comfort zone in signing up for this soccer academy, as we knew almost no one participating beforehand. But about half-way into the season, she is the most excited about going to practice and games than I have ever seen her. She has met an amazing group of girls, and we all know that everything is much more fun with friends. I love to see her branch out of her regular routine and have to make friends with unfamiliar people, and I love to see her become much more confident in a sport that requires so much determination. I can honestly say that she has been challenged this season. She has been worked until she wants to fall over. She has been taught more about the sport than she has ever been before. And she has had so much fun along the way. That is why we do these things.