Tucker hit a home run last night. I nearly lost my voice and my mind, watching my player round the bases and slide right into home. Watching Peter coach him at third base, rounding his arm to signal our boy to run straight home. Go, go, go.
I sure didn’t know I was a baseball mom, but life is full of surprises, and it turns out that I definitely am. I managed to not run straight into the dugout to give him every high-five, but I stopped just short of that boundary zone. I’m just so in love with this boy who is as tall as I am, whose grin seems to hold sunshine.
After weeks of days of sitting alongside these same parents, there’s a bond that grows. We still don’t necessarily know each other’s names, and we’d probably recognize each other by our folding chairs and baseball bags. We share the space a couple of nights a week, and by now we know mostly whose kid is whose. Mostly.
There’s a pair of younger siblings at every single game, and the little sister has stolen my heart. She’s got a glossy hair like a Hawaiian, she has a round tummy that pooches out of her little halter tops, and she doesn’t talk. Only her parents know what she needs and wants on a moment by moment basis, but we’ve never heard her voice. She has thoughts held captive.
Naturally, when one cannot voice her thoughts, wants, needs, and opinions, the world is a frustrating place. She gets angry when she needs something, because wouldn’t you, if nobody could understand you? Her shrieks and squeals are her only voice, and she uses it. And she’s stolen my heart a tiny bit.
Her mom carried her away from the field yesterday, as the little girl raged about something having to do with the screen in her hand. I waited until they had things at a manageable range, because I didn’t want to interrupt, and because the only thing harder than difficult public parenting is when well-meaning strangers get involved. But then I wandered over to where they were, where weary mom sat rocking her little girl.
She looked at me like she had expected me to say something totally different. And then her eyes filled with tears.
“Oh my gosh, thank you,” she said.
“Seriously. You’re really good at this. You’re winning at it.”
She hugged me. I hugged back.
Sometimes you need someone to follow you off the stage and say, “You’ve got this. Well done. I couldn’t do it better, and I’d hate to have to try. You’re winning.”
I’m not telling this story because I did the right thing, though I hope I did. I’m telling this story because we can all do the right thing.
The world is full of critics. Be a cheerleader.
Notice the people who are doing their best. Tell them you noticed.
Watch for the person hitting the home run. Cheer them on.