Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The previous hours had been spent watching t-ballers parade and tumble on bounce houses. But as the sun set and the crowds dwindled, the coaches and managers took to the field.

They warmed up as we tried to cozy up next to each other on the bleachers. Drew asked me, "Have you ever seen Daddy play baseball before?"

Once or twice, I recalled to him.

"Can he hit and throw and catch, too?"

Oh sure.. He can do all those things, buddy! I think you're going to enjoy watching him play.

The scrimage game started, and the bigger boys heckled from the sidelines. Plenty of "old man" jokes were thrown around, as good-natured jeering spurred our men to prove they still had "it" out there on the diamond.

The opposing team sent their first player to bat, and the pitch was an easy target. A loud crack accompanied the ball as it flew high over the left field fence.

The little crowd went wild! A boy walked past our spot just as I heard him say, "Oh yeah... my dad's EPIC isn't he?"


I smiled, delighted on behalf of that daddy, who was rounding the bases toward home plate.

Turning to pull my son in closer from the chilly wind, I heard him sigh, "I wish it was my Daddy who got that home run."

My delighted heart cringed a bit as I took in the awe-tinged jealousy Drew felt toward that big kid. He said nothing more... just went back to sucking on a root beer flavored lollipop and staring into the outfield.

A few more players scored for the opposing team, and then three outs sent them to their dugout, while our team switched gears and warmed up their bats.

Drew's daddy was first in the batting lineup, and I watched him patiently wait by homeplate as the pitcher perfected his form. I tapped Drew on the leg when it was time for him to pay attention, and his daddy stepped up to the plate.

The first pitch was unimpressive, and my husband declined to swing at the second ball as well. I figured a "Walk" might be a safe way for my husband to get to first.

The pitcher threw the ball again, and I heard a familiar crack. Losing the ball for only a moment in the bright lights, I caught up with it's trajectory as it sailed over the centerfield fence.

The crowd may have gone wild again, but I couldn't hear anyone else's cheers over our own. Drew and I high-fived eachother with mouths open in disbelief.

"MY DADDY GOT A HOME RUN! MY DADDY GOT A HOME RUN!" he shouted. And as his daddy rounded the bases toward home, his boy hopped down the bleachers and ran toward the fence.

I stayed in my seat, giving my hubby a casual thumbs-up and a smile. The boy stayed glued to the dugout for the rest of the game.

It was, in a word, epic.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Conversation Hearts

Three big hearts are stuck to our refrigerator door these days.

Each one bears the description of the "Love Language" most important to certain members of our family. The descriptions come from the "5 Love Languages" book (or online quiz if you need instant gratification like me!) by Gary Chapman.

My husband's heart says "Acts of Service", mine says "Words of Affirmation", and our Drew's heart says "Quality Time".

Realizing how different each of my "men" responds and relates to acts of love has left me sort of disheartened. After all, I'm so exhausted by the end of each day, they're lucky if I pour love in any shape or form into my family. How am I supposed to love them each in their own specific way.. and how am I EVER going to get the kind of love (read: TALKING, WORDS, SHARING, COMMUNICATION) that I need???

But God's really gotten a hold of me lately in the LOVE department. I am feeling challenged by how I love Him and how I show His love to others. So, I am determined to start with the people I truly love the most on this earth.

I really thought that the refrigerator hearts were going to be for my benefit only. After all, they are shades of pinks and reds, and I've penned the descriptions in hot pink sparkly paint. Virtual camoflauge to a man's eyes.

But something crazy has been happening over the last few days. Sure... I'm making an effort to spend more time with my son. And yes, I've been doing crazy things like cleaning out the garage and keeping the dishes out of the sink for my hubby.

But I've also been getting random text messages throughout the day with words of love from my husband. He's been thanking me for everything I do around the house. He's been pointing out his appreciation for things I didn't even know mattered to him.

And that... well, that fills this sparkly-pink-painted heart right up. (So much I may just go clean a bathroom!!)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Little Footprints

The fields had obviously just been maintained as our team of ten t-ballers scattered across the red dirt. Their little footprints disturbed the perfectly-raked lines and smeared the straight white chalk marks.

It took no time before all four bases were covered in cleat-marked polka dots as the "Cardinals" practiced running, hitting, and fielding tonight under big fluorescent lights and a cover of fog.

It wasn't long before the dugout was not a suitable place for Miss M to play. She could not merely be a fan tonight. She was compelled to participate.

So, we took to the field with the team. We found a place along the third base line that was untouched by rowdy-boy-footprints and missed catches and wayward bats. We found pristine red clay and smooth white chalk lines, and we made our mark.

She rounded third. And hopped on and off of it, too. She pittered and pattered until every last inch of her spot of infield was covered in Size 5 toddler shoe prints. She chased me and I chased her.

She blew kisses at me when I cautioned her to come nearer to mommy, then turned on her heels and tried to run toward the chaos.

I scooped her up and together we ventured all the way to the high fence at the edge of the outfield.

There, we found shell-lined paths where the grass ended. She attemped to climb the fence. I turned my attention toward the boys. I noticed my son's size 12 feet high up in the air as he tumbled on top of a pile of teammates (while the coaches diligently tried to run drills).

The little one eventually rubbed her eyes and signed "Please". I fished her paci out of my pocket and hoisted her onto my hip. We trudged back through the shells, across the wet grass, past the hundreds of baby footprints, and into the dugout.

As practice drew to a close, the "Cardinals" swarmed around my girl and me... looking for misplaced helmets, bats, snacks and gloves.

I smiled, thinking about the hundreds of footprints being left, this time somewhat undetected, on the dugout's cement floor.

I recalled my life before these children: Pristine, perfectly raked-lines. Straight white chalk marks.

And I thanked God for all the times He makes His mark, "disturbing" my perfectly planned paths...using those little Size 5 and Size 12 footprints.