Monday, June 15, 2009

Last Game on the Field of Dreams

We have this picture perfect, manicured little baseball diamond in our cozy town. Our school is right next door, and every time I stop by to drop off a forgotten lunch or paper in the spring, there is someone tenderly tending the field.

Eight years ago, my little guy with his baseball mitt from Toys R Us started his little league career. The T-ball diamond, adjacent to the big, fancy field, is a super cute, mini version of the big kid's diamond and stands in the shade of a big, perfect-for-climbing tree.

All the little kids watch the big diamond in awe. If you are a kid and you love baseball, this is the place you dream of playing. It is your big leagues. It is your majors. There's a light up scoreboard and enthusiastic parent announcers in the skybox. The snack shack sells dogs, peanuts in the shell and nachos with the mandatory neon orange cheese.

As a family, we've moved up through the little league ranks. Our son has made his way through multiple positions, and both fantastic and heart wrenching plays. He's hit a homer and one one memorable occasion lost his permanent front tooth. We've experienced the good, bad, ugly and exceedingly excellent of coaches. We've been the winning team and the team that lost every single game.

If you hang around little league until you're 12, you are serious about baseball and you play or practice all of the time. It holds a family hostage from March until June. I am sad to see the last game John will play on this magical field--even though I've sat on the metal seats so much this year that my back is in spasm.

The ping of the bat, the sound of a hard, fastball hitting the mitt, parental chuckles and angst. The smell of hot dogs, the tranquil green of the field flanked by blue sunny skies, and the dust that kicks up in the infield-- these all will always be in our memories of John's childhood.

Today, 8 years later, John will have to grab his gear and walk away from the field for his last time as a player. George and I will be right by his side, squinting into the evening sun as we leave a chunk of childhood behind. It will be a sad, growing-up-way-too-fast, good-bye.


Under the Influence said...

What sweet memories!

Terri said...

What wonderful memories!! I know it will be hard for you as a Mom but thnk about how proud you will be. Your blogging is beautifully written my friend!! I thought I was reading a novel there for a minute!!!! Have fun!

Terri said...

P.S. He is a cutie by the way!!

Helene said...

Those such like such wonderful memories!! I have a feeling this is what my life will be like in the near future with 3 boys!

The Knutson Klan said...

So sweet and sad at the same time! Just wanted to stop by and say thank you for following My Four Monkeys!


Deb said...

@UndertheInfluence: Thanks, you sometimes don't realize how sweet the memories are until the moment is almost gone.

@Terri: I am a very proud momma! Thanks for taking the time to read such a long post and the sweet words :)

@Helene: Get ready--and make your kids wear mouthguards! Oh, and be sure to take along those little, cushiony camping seats. Good luck, it's lots of fun.

@The Knutson Klan: Ahhhh, the bittersweetness of watching your kids grow up. I guess that one is universal. Thanks for the follow, too.

Rae Ann said...

Sniff! Q isn't even old enough to hold a bat yet and that post made me cry! It is the Sunrise, Sunset of the baseball set!