Saturday, May 9, 2009

Throwing the Bat

My son loves baseball. Deeply. Which is a bit of a surprise since both my husband and I are not fans of spectator sports. We'd rather run a river, climb a cliff or ride single track going forty miles an hour with our kids than spend our Saturdays on sticky bleachers wilting in the sun. Just for the record, my children are incredibly spoiled. Most people never get the opportunity to see and do the things my kids have experienced. They canyoneer, run rivers, rock climb, backpack and bike every single summer. We nearly live out of tent, some summers, skipping from one activity to another.

I kind of expected my children would naturally love these activities. And they do. Apparently, they just love other things as well, like the Red Sox. Who knew?

So, my son announced he wanted to play little league. Which is a problem. We've done absolutely nothing to prepare him for this experience. He knows how to self rescue if tossed overboard in a class 3 rapid. He knows how to repel off a cliff or where his feet need to be when he climbs a slick sandstone wall. He even knows what to do if he gets lost in the wilderness and needs to survive for two days with only small backpack of water and a granola bar. But we've never taught him a thing about how to hold a bat or catch a pop flies. I didn't even know what a pop fly was until a week ago. To be honest, I don't even know how many players are supposed to be on a baseball field...diamond. Oh, you get the point.

But this is what he wants to do. So I support him. Every possible way I can.

Can I just say, sometimes it's incredibly hard to be a mother? Watching my children struggle kills me. Just drive that dagger in my heart and give it a twist. He really, really loves this game. Most of the other teammates have parents who've been playing catch with their boys since they were old enough to hold a ball between their chubby digits. My sons been paddling rivers. And it shows. So learning to play in front of the other boys has been hard. For me anyway. He doesn't care. He wants to be better.

After practice he stays a little longer for extra batting practice. And he practices any chance he gets.

"This kid has heart." The coach says.

I smile. I already knew that.

So my son swings at those balls. Again and again and again. For hours. Until his arms are so tired he can barely hold the bat. Then he swings some more. I simultaneously explode with pride and break every time he misses. Ah. The agony of being a parent. All the while, my boy just keeps swinging.

The other night after a rough practice, he and I walked to the car. He said. "You know mom, I really wanted to throw that bat and walk away tonight. I was so frustrated. "

"Yeah?" I said. My heart breaking all over again.

"Yeah." He sighed. "But I couldn't, because you never quit writing your book, even though sometimes it's really hard."

I nearly dropped my car keys. I am at that point where I want nothing more than to chuck my stupid laptop out the window and say. "That's it. I quit!" Every day I want to give up. I have no idea what I'm doing. And I feel just like my son, desperate to get it right and painfully aware how far behind I am. In the last few weeks I've really, really wanted to quit.

But I can't. As much as I'd like to. Because my boy loves something enough to do it even if when it's really hard; and one day he's going to hit that ball out of the park. I can't wait to write about it.


Karen Hoover said...

wow, this really hit me today. What an awesome kid you've got! And he inspired you without even knowing it. Happy Mother's Day, friend.

Mary Campbell said...

great post kristi. I totally know what you mean about spectator sports. Having someone say that your kid has heart is in my opinion way better than hearing he what a great swing he has. Awesome how he learned from your example without you even realizing that you were being an example. Don't give up!!!

Kristi Stevens said...

He is an amazing kid. I have remarkable children. I'm very lucky. I won't give up. Can't now. Too much pressure.

Cindy Beck said...

It's not easy being a mother. Half the time our hearts are bursting with pride and the other half, breaking for fear the kids will kill themselves! :)

JaredNGarrett said...

Wowza. How's that for pressure? Can't give up... never.. not ever!

This is a well done post. I don't know how much craft you put into your blog posts, but this one is very well put together. Very touching.

Thanks Kristi.