This month and a little part of the next we’ll be at so many baseball games, the number will only be rivaled by how many each of us miss because they’re all happening at the same time. Three boys, four different baseball teams. Michael’s helping coach one of the teams, which makes his decision easy during conflicts. I’ll be left to decide between them, trying to keep it as fair as possible, wishing I could see every second of Jake’s first season ever and every minute of Drew’s season and John’s.
I love it. I never knew I would love it, but I do. We were a busy family when I was a kid, but we were busy with different kinds of things. So this is new to me. I never did any sports past the first eye-opening year when I realized how hard I would have to work to get better. I hate that now, wishing I’d been more dedicated to at least one. When I watch the kids, my heart is fully there, but I’m quiet. Other people yell things like, “Down and Ready,” “Hands up”, or other sport-appropriate versions of you were supposed to be here or there and do this or that. But I can’t in good conscience yell much of anything. Authentic choices might be, “Good job for playing sports!” or “I’m so glad you’re out here instead of on the Wii!” (Have you noticed this generation’s “I’ll be there in a sec” has turned into, “Can I just finish this level”? I wish I had a Barnes and Noble gift card for every time I’ve heard that.)
So I’m all there, fully present, if less aware than the next mom about exactly where they should be when as I cheer for them. And I’m so proud of them I can hardly stand it. And I love our life with three athletic boys.
Still. I also love to see a bit of me in them. They have Michael’s freckles, Michael’s love for sports, his competitive drive. Drew has Michael’s run – I noticed it at track-and-field day – the shoulder blades, the focus. But as we drove to our three baseball games last night, Drew sat beside me in the car with a plain, cheap notebook that hadn’t been used. He cracked it open, flipped the cover beneath, and faced the blank page where it sat on his lap. “A fresh piece of paper,” he said with barely contained glee. “What should I draw??”
And I smiled. Huge. Because I loved the baseball games we were headed to. But oh how I loved seeing me in him, the same drive to create, the same audacious belief that he could, the same sheer delight at a blank, white page.