Monday, March 23, 2009

My Little Man

The house is still quiet this morning. Both my little people are still asleep, and that's rare around here! This past week has been pretty active, though, and I think they are completely worn out. Time to get back to our regular schedule tomorrow.

On Saturday, we traveled to Cullman for a one day baseball tournament. We had to be there at 8:00 am for warm-up for our 9:00am game. That meant leaving the house at 6:30 am. I am not a morning person at all, and these early morning games make me question our decision to leave our city park league. But when I see our boys on the field and how well they work together, it's all worth it.

Our team had a great day. Our first game was against an eight-year-old team, and we clobbered them 20-7. The second game was against a seven-year-old team, and we took them 18-1 at the end of the fourth inning. Our last game was against another eight-year-old team, and they gave our boys a good hard fight. They beat us 24-18 after six long innings of back and forth. It was a great game, however, and it was amazing to see our little guys hang in there so strong after a long day of baseball. We were all proud of their performance overall as a team. Our coaches have been working with the boys about not giving up ,shaking off their mistakes, digging in their heels and playing tough even when the chips are against them. And Saturday was proof that they are starting to understand that. They are turning into athletes - little men on the baseball field - and are learning valuable lessons that will carry them through life.

David had a good day himself. He made some fantastic snags at first base. He had a great double play during the second or third game, fielding the ball and stepping on first for the out there, and then running the ball down to home plate and tagging the runner for the out at home. He has suddenly developed a drive and poise on the field that wasn't there before. A confidence. A hunger for the ball - moving to and charging for that ball as soon as the bat makes contact. And we praised him for his efforts on the field Saturday.

At the end of our long day, after they were both clean and Madalyn had already given in to the exhaustion, David and I were lying in my bedroom floor giving the family cat some much needed attention. We were recapping his day including the big hit he took in the head at first bas in our final game of the day. The biggest boy on this team of eight-year-olds was up to bat. He hit the ball to the left side of the field (I think to shortstop), and David took his position, one foot on the bag, glove up and ready to receive, and eyes fixated on his prize - the ball. I watched in horror as this boy - who was literally three or four inches taller than David - plowed into him at first base head on just as the ball arrived in David's glove. It knocked David down, and knocked the ball to the ground. David at first popped right up, looking for the ball. But within a split second, he realized he was dazed. I could tell from where I sat that he didn't know where he was. This kid was huge, and his shoulders hit David in the side of the head. It was like a football hit, but without the helmet or pads. And I was furious. Making the situation worse was the classless first base running coach on the opposing team who didn't even pause to check on David and was yelling for his runner to advance to second. As one could imagine, Crazy Mama got a little vocal at this point. I don't know if the coach heard me or not, but I let him know how I felt about his lack of concern for my son. You just don't send a runner when there's a player down or stunned on the field.

As we sat there petting Millie, David expressed his pleasure in himself for taking that hit and shaking it off. And that he did - he collected himself within seconds and got right back to his post. He said that was his favorite part of the day. I don't know how getting plowed down by a kid twenty pounds heavier than you could be your favorite part of the day, but whatever. He was proud of his reaction to the trauma, I guess. So I told him my favorite part of the day had nothing to do with baseball at all, and he was interested to hear it. My favorite part of the whole day occurred at 6:05. His room was still dark, and the sun outside was just beginning to show up for work. I turned on the light in the hall and climbed atop the little table beside the bed to peak over the rails of his bunk bed. I rubbed his little back and talked lightly to him the same way I have since he was born. I asked to see his eyes. I always ask to see his eyes in the morning if I'm trying to wake him; this is how I know he is actually listening to me and not still in some far away dream land. He opened his sleepy eyes, gave me a sleepy smile, and said the most precious words any Crazy Mama could hear - "I love you, mama."

When I told him that was my favorite part of the day, he just laughed. He doesn't understand, and I am not sure he ever will. Watching that precious baby boy grow up from a screaming colicky infant to a poised first baseman. Rubbing the back of a sleeping toddler to wake him from a late afternoon nap to rubbing the back of a big boy to wake him for a full day of baseball. The joy of being the mother to such a great kid. I try to tell him how special he is form time to time, and I know he thinks I am crazy when I say it. But I want to make sure he knows what a joy it is to watch him grow. There are many challenges in parenting, but there are many joys as well. And watching a little boy grow up - well, it's definitely a joy.

My little man.

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