Thursday, April 26, 2018

A boy, A ball & A mama's tender heart.

Last week Redding started spring Baseball at the ymca, but unlike in the past with a Tee, this season the coach is pitching. 
I'll tell you right now, had I known watching my kids play sports would be so hard on this sensitive ol' mama heart, I probably would've let us all stay home and watched saturday morning cartoons.

It was John's weekend with the kids, so when I arrived I was surprised to see Redding was already out on the field playing catch with another little boy (yay new friends!)   I took myself to the stands where all the moms who aren't freaking out go ('do not helicopter parent. do not helicopter parent' is my mantra y'all).  I watch as the coach gathers up the boys to start leading some practice 'moves'  (I am NOT a sports person. I assume we call them 'moves'. like 'dance moves, right? RIGHT? practice moves? Such as running and hitting?)

Redding, unlike when he was 4 or 5 and cried at most Tball games, happily was listening to the coach and making new friends.  
'Redding is being so cool!' I proudly text Matt who is at work. 
John walks over to the stand and happily shrugs 'I guess he's cool and doesn't need me' 
'I KNOW'!!! I'm thrilled.

Our boy. If you know redding you know what a special little guy he is. He's always been insanely sensitive and perceptive. He is taking-in everything around him and is seeing it through the lens of a tender tender little heart.  He has so many talents, but so far in life, athletics and coordination have just not been them.  
But y'all, the kid loves sports. Loves them.  John (his dad) and I are at a loss, neither of us are sports people (unless it's bike riding, which is how we met).  This is Matts arena. Matt is the sports man.  Let me tell you, after a few months of dating him, I one day opened his hall closet (probably looking for a vacuum cleaner ... I do NOT clean your house when your not looking. Shhhh, I am NOT a crazy cleaning lady who oversteps my bounds and cleans my friends houses).  Anyways, I don't remember if there was a vacuum cleaner or not, but the point is what I did see in his closet. Basketballs, Footballs,  Baseballs Volleyballs, Tennis racquets ... GOLF CLUBS.  Whhhhhhat is this? I quickly shut the door. A sports man? Can I date a sports man? 
This all seems very silly to me now, three years of loving this man later ... and three super bowls later (yes, I have happily eaten chips in the same room as a football game. I don't know who played or who won, but I do know that I like bbq flavored potato chips).

My point, Matt is the sports human in our family, the one who happily watches Basketball with the kids and teaches them about things like passes, jumps, shots (Sports 'moves', am I right?)

Back to the first day of coach-pitched Baseball and my tender mama heart:  
Redding is standing in line happily joking and laughing with all these boys who look WAY bigger than 6, waiting for his turn to hit the ball. There is nothing better for a mom then watching your child get accepted in a group of kids.   However as I watch player after player hit the ball, I deflate. Redding has never hit the ball when it was thrown to him before, he's not ready! Will he be embarrassed in front of all these boys?  
Oh God Please let my baby hit the ball. Please god, please.  (they always say you turn to God in your most dire moments, I guess this one was mine).
I watch my boy go up to bat and take a swing. A miss. and again. and again. and again.
The coach is so kind, 'you got this Redding, keep your eye on the ball' he yells. 
'please please please' I mutter    ('WHAT DID YOU SAYYYY?' birdie asks 'SHHHH!!! mama is concentrating on VERY important things right now!')

Never did I know the REAL stress of being a mother until this moment.  As I watched the other boys watch him strike out again and again, I wanted to march onto the field take my son, 'don't worry' I would say 'you never have to interact with anyone again- ever. I will protect you FOR-EV-ER'.  But instead I do the right (?) thing, and stay on the bleachers wondering what kind of insane person let's their children play sports.  

After about ten tries, the coach yells to my baby 'Good try, Lets see you run around the bases Redding'.  
And Redding is staying cool!  He drops the bat and happily starts running. And he's showing off! I can tell he's really running as fast as he can. He doesn't look as unathletic as he has in the past. He looks great!
Look at my boy! 
My boy can run, but more importantly, My boy has a good attitude. He kept with it even though he couldn't hit. He stayed positive, he's going to be fine in life! He'll Make it! AND he'll HAVE FRIENDS (because really that's what this is all about, isn't it.

And he eats it. hard.
My god my god WHY have you forsaken me?
I am frozen, the last thing he needs is a mom running onto the field to dust off her son. But he doesn't move, he's crying. Oh my boy.  There are only dads on the field, so I go against every urge in my body and stay put on those bleachers and john goes out onto the field. Bloody knees and a dusty face, but no real harm done- just the poor little ego.

See, I knew it. Sports, they never end well for anybody. Let's all just stick to the arts guys.

It takes Redding about 10 minutes for him to be happily playing with the other boys again. But he does! He recovers. Because our kids are so much stronger than us.  
While I was ready to give up on the whole 'Sports' thing altogether, Redding on the other hand asked to practice every day the next week. Every damn day. 
And the following saturday during the game, he had a hit! 

You know, I was prepared to have an unathletic son. But I wasn't prepared to have one who still LOVED sports.  For some reason this throws me for a loop. I imagine it's pretty easy to encourage our kids to do what they are good at. But being there and encouraging them through the things they aren't the best at is much harder.

After this past game matt looked at me and said 'See, THIS! This is why I love sports. Anyone can do them, it just takes practice ... and they teach us such valuable lessons.'

Maybe he's right, but I emailed a piano teacher the next day all the same.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great read! I could totally understand your mama heart even though I am from a sports family! It is really neat seeing it from your perspective of not being a sports person. I've always wanted to be creative, confident, etc as you and your family are, but alas I'm the accountant, the black and white person, who is afraid I'm going to bore my kids to death or force sports on them when they turn out to be creative...I will strive to "sit on the bleachers". I enjoy reading your blog and seeing life through a different lense!