My son got hit last week and it may have been the best thing to ever happen to him. Let me explain…
My nine-year-old son has played for four years and today is a good player. When he was younger he was one of the better players (t-ball, coaches pitching) and he IS a pitcher in a division of kids who are largely older than him. He also has a vision issue which has him wearing sports goggles (and which we discovered only two years ago-see picture above). What has held him back this last season is fear. He is afraid of the ball not when he pitches or is playing defense but when he’s hitting. I can relate. Fear holds me back too. It’s the single greatest obstacle I put in my own way. Maybe you can relate. He can get on base, but he’s a walker. And it frustrates him because he knows its not due to him not having the ability. He knows he’s afraid too.
When I was a kid, I dreamed of being on Broadway. This was back when a musical theater dream wasn’t cool. Back before Glee or Smash or American Idol or X-Factor or any of those talent-elevating shows that allowed theater and performance geeks to step out of their shells and assume their rightful place among other kids with special talents and interests and find each other.
The warmer weather is trying to get and keep the attention of Mother Nature and, in similar fashion, Little League season has started where junior players seek to get and maintain the approval of their coaches, team mates and parents on fields everywhere. Any seasoned parent on the sidelines knows this time of year also marks the beginning of the end of your weekend freedom. Now some parents embrace this–either because they love baseball, or they coach, or they have a compulsive need to win…whatever floats your boat, I say. Other parents (like me) simply smile and accept this because they love their children and would give up anything for their happiness even if it means shivering through a 5pm April game or sweating their butt off during a 2pm August playoff (some kids can play through a summer league).
I was away for a few days in paradise with just my daughter, (read more about that here). We had morphed a family vacation into a girls getaway leaving our “boys” at home to bond over video games and baseball. I’ve already written about the adolescent dynamic that mystifies and terrifies and fully was prepared for its head to rear and to even enjoy some of its wrath as I sat down wind on the beach.
Disappointments from childhood are the most complicated to unpack. I say this without reservation and with total authority.
“Closeup Caterpillar On A Green Leaf” courtesy of iamharin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.
When I was twelve, my mother was diagnosed with a (then) rare but very treatable form of cancer. It shook us all to our core since she was the one who “lived clean”–juxtaposed against my Dad–she had no history of drinking, didn’t smoke, avoided the sun. We found out that it had also metastasized (spread) and she was going to have to have surgery to remove the cancer and aggressive treatments of iodine therapy to remove anything left. During iodine therapy she couldn’t have visitors and couldn’t touch certain types of people so I could not see her. The therapy coincided with a pre-planned annual vacation we were to take, so my father decided instead of being home and not visiting my mother we would go and I would bring a friend with me.
I’m getting ready to go on vacation for spring break and nothing is better than the anticipation of having free, uninterrupted family time to relax and enjoy each other. It’s times like this that I am reminded of the vacations I spent as a kid in the Caribbean with my parents, as they were probably the happiest of my entire childhood and because of that they leave me with a deep ache and a profound sorrow for the loss of my Dad.
Tomorrow we are having a birthday party for my littlest one. My baby. Although his birthday isn’t officially until Monday, this party is one of the “primary” celebrations we will have for him. See there are a few different kinds of parties. There are “school parties”–these happen at school, there are “family parties”–just family, and there are “kid parties”–kid only celebrations. Then there is the Mack-daddy party, the kid-family mash-up. That’s what we are doing tomorrow. Now you may think that based on how I’m talking about my little boy he must be a tiny tyke… Well you’d be wrong, in one way… ok in a major way. But I wouldn’t totally disagree either.