Every evening I watch my daughter fight for every last-minute of daylight, playing hard before the final call to come inside. It’s the best and worst part of the day. I’m captivated by her devotion to playing with dirt and climbing trees, and generally dominating the backyard. She’s fierce and proud of her dirt creations.

Every five minutes, I’ve timed it, she screams loud and long. I can’t help but be alarmed and by the fifth consistent scream, my nerves are raw. She’s more often confused, because every scream communicates something different. It’s not ‘the same’ scream every time, so she’s clearly not doing anything wrong. She screams for joy, when she’s hurt, and as part of her superhero play.

As much as I dislike the screaming during play, I struggle to address it. As a young girl, she’s already learned to be quiet and wait her turn. Her brother often barrels through with a confidence I believe we’ve socialized out of our daughter. Personally, I’ve modeled a soft-spoken, tentative approach that I believe has influenced her interactions with others. At almost forty, I am who I am and quiet intensity is where I bank my personal power.  I would like for her to experience her voice differently though and perhaps with more volume.

As I write this, she is now swinging around a tree, bellowing from deep within her chest. Another nerve bites the dust and I feel my eye preparing to twitch. I laugh and cringe at the same time. I wonder if I was ever that loud. Was there a time I felt the absolute joy of screaming wildly and out of control? Did I ever play with a simple abandon and no need for the company of others? There is something pretty exciting about her wild abandon and I appreciate the strength training moves she’s built into the last set of swings.

It’s time to come inside and get cleaned up for bed. As my girl cleans up and changes for bed, I start putting my clothes out for my morning workout. I set my alarm for 4:30am and feel that little bit of anticipation I get the night before a good workout. I honestly can’t remember if I ever played with the same ferocity as my daughter, but I do train with that level of joy.

I’m unable to compete and would likely avoid competition if I could. But I love the feeling of sweating through an uphill climb in spin or the last rep of the overhead press. If I’m honest, I may not scream, but I definitely grunt my way through my morning workouts. Perhaps my daughter and I do have this in common. A special time we find our joy and wild abandon.

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