With the onset of baseball madness, and the chaotic activity that ensued from said madness, something miraculous occurred. A phenomenon that could only have materialized from the distraction caused by cleats with caked dirt and uniforms with red clay stains, and schedules that ate away at any remaining minutes that might be considered my own.
The event? All of my children graduated from one grade level to the next without the usual histrionics and overreaction from yours truly. No drama, no emotional outbursts. I didn’t even take to bed, distraught that my little ones were one year closer to calling my nurturing abode their second home.
(I don’t even recognize myself anymore. Wicked baseball, see what you have done to me?)
My oldest is a rising 5th grader. Clever and quick witted, very few can make me laugh out loud like this quirky little ten year old.
Recently, we were walking to the car after dining at a local restaurant, when I noticed that Chase was wearing his baseball cap somewhat cock-eyed.
“Chase, your hat is crooked,” I told him.
“No, this is the way I am wearing it now. I’m GANGSTA,” was his absurd reply.
“Oh really?” I continued. “ What is it about your starched, short sleeved polo shirt tucked into your even more starched khaki pants that would remotely suggest you roll gangsta-style?”
And without missing a beat, Chase responded, “I’m a new kind of gangsta. I’m a gangsta with manners.”
For the entire trip back home, we were subjected to a type of free-styling rap sung by Chase that I can’t possibly imitate or do justice, but here is a small excerpt of the “lyrics” created by my ten year old gangsta:
(Get a beat in your head, feel the groove and then imagine a pre-pubescent voice rapping the following:)
I’m a gangsta with manners, ‘cause I put my napkin in my lap.
I’m a gangsta with manners, ‘cause I say yes sir and no ma’am.
I’m a gangsta with manners, ‘cause I chew with my mouth closed.
I’m a gangsta with manners, but for you, I’ll open the door.
My middle child, Chandler, is a rising second grader. He is obscenely smart – and I say this in the most biased manner possible – stunning us on a daily basis of concepts he has learned, or desires to learn. He is a thinker and a dreamer, but also somewhat of a perfectionist in his daily approach and mode of operation. Chandler especially wants to please his parents, his teachers, and most recently and most importantly, his coaches.
Early on in the baseball season, Chandler was just starting to get the hang of all the nuances and rules of baseball. One particular game, he found himself playing third base with runners on first and third and one out for the inning. I watched Chandler’s face, imagining the wheels in his brain turning over the many scenarios and possibilities the next batter could bring, when suddenly, in almost Rain-Man like fashion, he blurted out across the field to his coach and for all in the stands to hear:
“HEY COACH! I’M GONNA NEED A LITTLE INSTRUCTION HERE!”
My baby, my five-year-old daughter, Mary Mac, will begin kindergarten in the Fall. Just typing that sentence makes me week in the knees, a little short of breath and momentarily dizzy.
(Or it could have been the rush of sugar I just experienced when swiping a S’mores pop tart off of my child’s paper plate which we refer to demurely as our “summer plates”. No wonder my children streak through the house like tasmanian devils after breakfast.)
Sassy and so smart, daring and so dramatic, Mary Mac embraces each day looking for the adventure it will bring. She loves school, loves her teachers even more, sobbing uncontrollably in the car ride home each of the years she has experienced a school day that was her to be her last, in true Mary Mac form.
Last day of 3K:
“WAAAAHHHHH. I’ll never see Mrs. Jones ever, ever, never again! Waaaaahhhhh!!! She will be gone forever and I am going to be sad FOREEEVVVVVERRRR!!!.”
Last day of 4K:
“WAAAHHHHH! I’ll never, ever, in my whole life and in the whole universe be able to see Mrs. Edwards again! WAAAAHHH! She won’t remember me but I’ll remember her and that’s not fair because I’m going to miss her FOREVVVERRR! WAAAHHH!!
Oh, she brings me joy. Aggravation, and a whole lot of dramatics, but she definitely brings joy.
So another school year is behind us, and because of baseball, I barely felt the impact. My lip only quivered a little when final hugs were given to teachers on the last day of school, the teachers crying more than the students.
My heart only raced a little when I took the final picture of each child with their school friends, smiling with ecstatic grins that are mercifully unaware of the speed in which time passes.
And my throat only constricted a little, at the reminder that God has only gifted them to me for just this short period of time - barely a blink of my wrinkled eye-and that while they are mine, I will fully inhale them with deep, lingering breaths and then slowly and purposefully exhale with all love, laughter and joy.