Fifth grade. On the verge of being a teenager. No longer a child, in my mind. I know that it was a rough time for my parents. For me too, for that matter. I have always been a bit...outspoken. Never the type to bite my tongue. That caused a rift between my mom and I, which I regret to this day. Dad used to say that it was because we were so much alike. I look back and agree entirely. There were good times though too.
I started playing sports in fifth grade. Volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter, then softball in the spring. I liked sports. Heck, I STILL like sports. I prefer to play a sport over a cardio workout any day.
I wasn't too great at any of them, but I LOVED softball. In volleyball and basketball, I always ran around crazy, never quite understanding completely. On the diamond though, that was a COMPLETELY different story. My place was behind the plate. There, I knew what EVERYONE was doing. For some unexplainable reason, I adored having a softball hurled at me and having a sweaty old man breathing down my backside. "STRRRIIIIIIKE!" was my favorite word. My mom played softball too, when she was younger. She was always the bad ass behind the plate too. :o) I was always proud that we shared that ONE thing.
I should probably add that my dad coached me. It was a bit of a love/hate thing. I loved that my dad was involved in my activities, but MAN! It was ROUGH!! Just sayin'. He coached me on our school basketball team. I was TERRIBLE, so it was okay that he made me ride the pine a lot. It was always said that I spent more time on the floor than on my feet. I guess that my nickname (Hubs calls me Gracie basically to mock my complete lack of finesse.) was in the cards even way back then.
All of this culminated to the 5th grade end of the softball season party. My mom and dad offered to host a swim party at our house. Keep in mind, our house was pretty much a kid's dream, complete with go-kart, horse, riding trails, swimming pool, and pond. It was going to be a great time. Lo and behold, the day of the party came and so did a visitor (the FIRST time this particular visitor graced me with her presence). Any woman reading this can pretty much guess which visitor I am referring to. Any eleven year old girl with a swim party's worst nightmare. So while my guests were due to arrive in a few hours, I was learning the ins and outs of womanhood. To this day, I VIVIDLY recall my dramatic younger self crying to my mother, "I don't WANT to be a girl! I want to be a boy!" As if my theatrics were going to make EVERYTHING go away instantly... Needless to say, the party guests arrived and I had ALMOST as much fun as if everything were "normal". Thank goodness all of the guests were girls as well.
So the end of the school year ended, and I was officially on the brink of womanhood.