Spring is such a beautiful but busy time of year for our family! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and baseball season is in full swing (see what I did there?!). ‘Tis the season of homeruns, grass stains, sunflower seeds, lots of Gatorade, late dinners and making memories. My oldest two kids have played since they were toddlers and enjoy the sport so much! It’s so rewarding to watch them in their element and I try to savor every moment. There are some evenings that both kids have back to back games and we spend over five hours at the field. Yes, I said five. Often my biggest challenge is entertaining their three-year-old biggest fan, little brother Hudson! We bring a plethora of snacks, sippy cups, toys and bubbles! Five hours gives me lots of time to think from the comfort of my folding chair. Parenting is very similar to the game of baseball.
Many innings ago my kids started with T ball. They were clueless but fearless. It didn’t take them long to learn the basic skills: step up to the plate, keep your eye on the ball, swing the bat and run to first base. When my husband and I were brand new parents, we also had to learn the basic skills: feed, change, bathe and swaddle. As our kids got older the game of baseball became more challenging and learning a whole new set of skills was necessary. They started keeping score, striking out and had to swing at a ball being thrown to them. Of course once we survived the infancy stage, my husband and I then had to learn a whole new set of parenting skills. I’m convinced this process never ends! Just when we think we have something mastered, each new season and age brings more to challenge and refine us!
As my son rounds the bases and slides into the dusty diamond, it reminds me that there’s truly no place like home! It’s where the most significant things happen and the most important people live. Team is most important. At home, our “team” is our family. We should build them up, fight for them and do our part to serve how we are needed. In the game of life, they are our top priority and everything else should come after.
The umpires certainly have a thankless job! They can’t make all spectators and players happy with their decisions all the time. Likewise, we cannot (and should not!) aim to make our kids happy all the time. Like umps, we are constantly making judgement calls as parents. We referee siblings, enforce consequences and do what we believe is best in each circumstance.
It’s hard to deny the parallel between the pitcher/catcher relationship and the responsibilities of a mother/father unit. Both sets of people share a common defensive goal and must strategize in order to handle whatever challenges they may face. They could ultimately be the difference in success or failure. It is so important that they find their rhythm and that they ignore distractions.
Just like in the game of baseball, things change very quickly in life and parenting. Sometimes this is easy to endure, but sometimes life can throw some major curveballs. When the bases are loaded and we seem to have it all figured out, there can be an unexpected turn of events that disrupts everything as we once knew it. A diagnosis, a decision or an injury all have the potential to change the direction of our lives.
Like baseball, parenting isn’t easy. No one said it would be! Both parenting and baseball require the shedding of blood, sweat and tears. You win some and you lose some. You must always do your best, keep your chin up, and keep the desired end result in mind. The more focus, time and effort we put forth the more we will get out of it. Some days in parenting we hit it out of the park, but some days we strike out. Every sleepless night and hard day is totally worth it. So dust off the dirt, step up to the plate, get your stance ready and swing for the fences!