– Tom Hanks’ character in A League of Their Own.
There we were, Empty Nesters, with a young puppy, standing on the fields where our son had played baseball, starting with T-ball until he went to play in high school. I was moved by the realization that we were now the spectators. I was no longer the mother of the lefty pitcher, “the tall one” and the all star. I watched my devoted baseball husband standing calmly with the dog, watching the young boys practice. It brought back a flood of fond memories of sitting on the paint chipped wooden benches in those stands and watching our son Nick play.
It seemed that we spent every waking moment for 14 years at the baseball field and 14 years is a very long time.
My husband Craig enjoyed every single one of his baseball “jobs”. He was everything from a T-ball coach, a manager, a coach and for two years even the Little League president. When Nick began playing for the high school team, Craig hung up his cleats and his final job was sitting in the stands with me and he enjoyed every single morsel of that experience as well. Through the years he prepped the fields, cleaned the snack shack, cheered the teams and threw hundreds of batting practices. That bright-orange clay baseball field dirt still lingers in our garage.
At the end of Nick’s last high school season, I joked with the other baseball moms that we should each choose a kindergarten baseball player and follow his career. We could then relive our experience all over again… Not really, but these moments with our kids are so poignant and special – you sometimes wish you could go back.
Our children choose a sport or an activity and as parents we dive in and support what they do unconditionally.
I can see your heads nodding now.
We spend countless hours devoted to their passion and we would not have changed anything. I imagine ALL of you have stories to tell of the big game that was won or lost, the broken bones, endless practices or the role in the musical when she was the STAR! Sound familiar?
How is it that our kids have aged 18 years, but we still feel the same?
On Saturday, we took our puppy Rocco for a long walk and ended up at the baseball fields. Rocco is 8 months now and there has not been baseball activity on the fields where we usually walk until just recently. The baseball season has begun and we unexpectedly walked in to a time warp of sorts.
I was a bit wistful and sad – I can’t deny that – but I know that this was just part of our journey and those memories of the days of baseball are always there for us to reflect upon.
What do you remember from those days when the kids were younger?
I hope that you will share it with the rest of us.
As the umpire says: Play ball!
Read more from Suzanne Stavert on her blog Adventures of Empty Nesters