Thursday, May 23, 2013

How I ended up clutching a sign by the baseball field

Connor's baseball sign.

I'm mid-way into my freshman season as a baseball mom.  It's being a learning curve.  I've become a student of other baseball moms, the moms that have a half-dozen seasons tucked under their belts.  These moms have it down.  They bring the right equipment: comfy chairs, packed coolers, icy cold water jugs, an array of sunscreens.  They know exactly where to set up "camp," the spot with maximum shade and unobstructed views.  They can rattle off the league rules as quickly as their addresses.

I aspire to be a seasoned, knowledgeable baseball mom.  I'm just not there.

As a novice, I was unsure how to answer one of Connor's early requests.

"You need to make a baseball sign," he begged.

"Really?" I asked.  "Moms bring baseball signs to the ball park?"

He nodded and replied, "Yes, they bring signs to show support for their kids."

In the dash out the door for the first game, making a sign was forgotten.  But at the baseball field, I noted the absence of signs.  I passed on this observation to Connor after the game, but he was undeterred.  I needed to make a sign, he prodded.

Over the next several days I continued to forget about the sign.  Soon, Connor took matters into his own hands and made his own sign.  He wrote, "Eight is great.  Go Rays."  (Connor is number eight.)  He then attached Collin, his four year old brother's, name to the sign.  Collin may have mastered many four-year-old skills (getting dressed, brushing his teeth, throwing a tantrum), but sign making is not one of them.

Connor beamed as he handed me the sign and uttered that familiar request, "Bring the sign to the game!"

What's a mother to do?  I brought the sign.

When we first hit the ball park, rain pelleted the field.  The little boys and I realized the sign could also serve as an umbrella of sorts and so we savored the sign.  But when the skies cleared, the sign needed to be transformed back to its original purpose.  I imagined that other parents glanced at the sign and wondered if I was a zealot or a nut.

I certainly felt foolish lugging around this big sign, but carrying the sign wasn't about me, it was about him.  Whether or not I looked like a tool field side mattered little as long as Connor glanced at the sign and knew he was loved and supported.

And that's how I ended up making the rookie mistake of bringing a sign to the field, but I'm happy with my blunder (and so was Connor).

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