I had a hectic Friday. Daddy was out of town and I had meetings lasting so late I had to have Bec Bec pick you up from school. I rushed from work to meet you, rushed you across town to baseball practice, changed your clothes in the car, (made a mental note to bring my own change of clothes next time, too – duh), realized we parked as far away from your practice field as humanly possible so we attempted a shortcut. I carefully squished through the soggy grass in my heels, trying to avoid the worst of it while you tore right through the middle of several puddles, splattering your legs and your new cleats with a thin layer of watery mud.
At last we made it and as you joined your team in the field, I took my place in the bleachers. A few of the parents brought books and several had other kids to wrangle during practice, but I just sat. The sunshine felt so nice and I realized I hadn’t spent nearly enough time the last few weeks soaking up the warmth after such a long, icy winter. I snapped a few photos and texted updates to Daddy — batting well, listening to the coach, made a great stop!
It was the perfect breather. I didn’t have a single, solitary thing to distract me from watching you catch, throw, bat, and play in the dirt with your friends. No meetings. No phone calls. No deadlines.
As practice came to a close and you gathered around your coach for a pep talk and a team cheer, I glanced at my watch and smiled at how we’d both spent the last hour. Smiling in the sunshine.
Your coaches handed out uniforms while they reminded everyone of the upcoming first game. You waited in line, got your 04 jersey, and proudly emerged from the dugout, little ears struggling to hold up your “one size fits all” hat, arms full of your new “baseball stuff”, and hands, face, legs – covered in dirt.
“Mommy, do I look like a real baseball player?”
“Oh, Buddy. You ARE a real baseball player.”
We gathered up your stuff and headed back to the car. It was 7:40, nearly your bedtime. But instead of heading straight home for a badly-needed bath and a bedtime story, we took a detour.
Buddy, you had no way of knowing I needed that past-bedtime, out-of-the-routine ice cream treat just as much you did. It was the last thing we should have been doing at nearly 8:00 at night, but the only thing that seemed to make sense at the time. I told you it was a date, but you made a face and informed me grownups go on dates with other grownups, and kids go on PLAYdates – with other KIDS. Ok, so not a date. But a treat, nonetheless.
You politely asked the girl behind the counter for “vanilla with sprinkles and a cherry on the top”. I ordered my usual — “what do you have with peanut butter?” And we enjoyed our treat. We didn’t eat it in the car on the way home, we sat and talked — and took our time.
It was the best thirty minutes of my week.