Thing2 is wrapping up his second year playing for the minor-league in Little League baseball. He’s played catcher this year and loved it.
I think this is the year that most parents love watching. The kids still place a high values fairness — something about which we all seem willing to compromise as we get older–andsportsmanship. Parents cheer for their own players, but it’s also common and encouraged to cheer good plays made by the other team.
I love watching the players trying to strike a balance between youthful exuberance and competitive focus. Having done this with Thing1 not too many years ago, I know I’m watching the end of one era and the beginning of another. They’re both amazing to watch.
It’s Saturday morning, and we’re off to T-ball. Almost all our Saturdays involve some morning sport with one or both of the boys. In winter it’s the perfect antidote to cabin fever, but this morning it’s helping get me grounded again.
A weekend away at the Cape led to a week of catching up at work and at home. I forgot most of what I wanted to write about, and substituting marathon digital days for family face time was hardly inspiring. As we drive down the hills from our house to the main road, it’s impossible not to notice the intense green that’s overtaken the mountains with the longer days. I know that’s not where I’ll find my inspiration today, but I will find it.
We’re a little late getting to T-ball, and the boys have to run to get from the parking lot to the field in time for the first at bat. By the time we get to the dugout, twelve-year-old Thing1 is helping the coaches and six-year-old Thing2 is zipping around the bases and racing bunted balls to first base. It’s one of the few times I don’t have my camera with me, and all I can do is watch and let the rhythm of the day get me grounded in our lovely rut again. And that’s where the inspiration will be.
I can predict the weather once a year with near 100% certainty. The last Saturday in April will almost certainly be sunny and cold. I know this because this is the day Little League begins in our town, and it would not be the official start of the game season if eager young T-ballers weren’t being watched by smiling parents bundled up in coats and sweatshirts. There is one thing about this year’s opening day, however, that I failed to predict.
Most weekdays I get up at 5AM to write or to work while it’s quiet. Last night, however, I turned off the alarm and decided to let the sun, instead of the gong wake me. But the official first day of baseball season (as far as Arlington, VT is concerned), is a lot like Christmas, and I found out when a different son – my six-year-old, Thing2 – fully dressed in jeans and a black button-down shirt and tie crept to the side of my bed and, gently patting my face with his hand to let me know that it was time to go.
Knowing that it wasn’t an emergency requiring us to ‘go’, I lazily opened one eye and noticed that the sky wasn’t entirely dark. I turned my head to check the clock on the other side of the snoring Big Guy and, deciding that, at six a.m. I had bought an extra hour of sleep, decided to get up.
“You still have a few hours till we have to be there, Buddy,” I said quietly as I headed to the bathroom. Thing2 was too excited to let me have a morning to pee alone, and followed me in. “But I’m glad you’re dressed warmly. Do you think that tie is going to be comfortable under the new team T-shirt?”
Thing2’s thought for a moment. Then his mouth popped open, but before he could reveal his solution he had scurried back to the bunk room at the end of the hall. I could hear the sound of toys being excavated from a corner and Thing1 grumbling that it was too early for this. By the time I sat down at my desk with my morning caffeine, Thing2 had found and implemented the solution.
Breathless, Thing2 came racing into the study, still wearing the shirt and tie. Over it, he had donned his fake superhero muscles and another T-shirt. I checked the clock again. It was six thirty, we were on outfit number two, and Thing2’s superhero alter ego SuperDude had already started to emerge.
“Do you love it?” he asked.
I smiled, but I didn’t say anything. In an hour and a half we’ll need to leave the house with him warm and wearing clothing that won’t leave a permanent indent on his skin if it gets hit with a baseball. But even super heros evolve, and a lot can happen in that hour and a half.