I hope you enjoy my blog...if you do, please "follow" me! XOXOXO...BettyShmetty

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rainy days...

We are on our third rainy day in a row.  Although we desperately need the rain here, it's been three continuous days of sprinkling with intermittent thunderstorms.  I am feeling a little melancholy and out of sorts.  This rain makes me think of the shack we lived in for a summer in Turtletown, Tennessee when I was a little girl.
This picture is not the actual shack.  I am sure that one is long gone.  However, this one is similar in many ways.  The roof over the porch was not falling down, but the house looked beaten up and weathered, like this one.  The shack we lived in sat on the side of a hill, so the front was on stilts and under the house was where we did our laundry in the old washer (another story.)  But just so you can get a visual, this one will do.

Now, imagine this house surrounded by woods on a dreary, gray rainy day that soaks the spongy ground and you can start to feel my mood.

When it rained, that metal roof (which was just as rusty and old as the one in the photo) leaked.  We had buckets all over the place.  There was no inner ceiling, you just looked up at the metal roof. 

The sound of the rain on that roof depended on how hard it was raining.  When it sprinkled, it was a soft sound that was almost like white noise turned down low...kind of soothing.  When it poured, forget about conversations.  Here, listen to this video I found on youtube...
When it rained like that, there was really only one thing to do...take a nap.  As a kid, I hated taking naps.  I especially hated trying to take a nap in a bed with my mother, who couldn't fall asleep if anyone was moving around.  My sister and I were wiggly and fidgety when we tried to settle down for a nap with my mom.  This stressed her out and made it difficult for all of us to relax.  As a kid in that shack with nothing else to do, I hated rainy days.

Now, as an adult, I almost wish I could go back to that shack and listen to the rain on the roof.  I would like to lie down on a soft, comfy bed with white cotton sheets.  The windows would be open because there was no air conditioner in that little house.  The breeze would blow slightly and I would lie down with the man I love and he would hold me from behind and kiss me on my neck and we would fall asleep...safe in our little old house with the leaky metal roof.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

He hit a grand slam!

Right on the heels of my last post (well, I know it's been a week but work with me) I have a follow-up.

Yesterday, my son's team had to play their rivals.  This rivalry stems from the fact that there was only one travel baseball team in Jupiter until this past spring.  Because so many boys came to try out and because there was another coach who wanted to build a new team, a second team was formed.  Consequently, some of the members of the first team wanted to join the new team and there were hard feelings on the part of the first team...are you still with me?

Those hard feelings (most notably on the part of the other team's coaches) have turned into a full-blown rivalry between the two teams.  It has been said all along that the new team isn't as good as the original team, that they are nothing more than a practice or a "B" team.  While I don't think the boys really care one way or the other, some of the parents and coaches have been upset by this.

Last week, we played our first game against this other team.  They beat us...badly...they spanked us...we lost that game 10 - 0.  Our boys were clearly intimidated by the other team who were very pumped up for the game.  They played like champs and they won, fair and square.  The thing about the game though, was the way their coach behaved throughout the entire game.  While the boys were excited and played very well, their coach acted like an imbecile.  He was shouting things to his boys and ours.  He intentionally distracted our pitchers as they were pitching and so many other things.  He shouted loudly every emotion he was feeling during the game and then after the game, made a gesture with his fist toward our coach.  Overall, not a good example of sportsmanship.

After that game, our boys were feeling very defeated.  I did not like seeing my son like that, but I told him to shake it off and play harder next time while telling him that they would most definitely play this team again.  All of us encouraged the boys to work harder to improve their skills so they would be more confident the next time they played the team.  I am sure that to a 10 year old boy, this advice is not very helpful and it was sad to see my boy feeling so demoralized.

Since this was an allstars season, there wasn't much time to feel sorry for themselves and after having Father's Day off, they were back to work last Monday...and Tuesday, which lead us to our next tournament this past Wednesday.  As luck (or fate) would have it, we won one and lost one and ultimately, in our third game, were paired up once more with our rivals.  The game was set to be played Friday night but was rained out.  After waiting 2 1/2 hours at the field, the lightning didn't subside and the game was postponed until Saturday morning.  In preparation for this particular game, I did not force my son to nap or eat his protein.  We did not go to batting practice or talk about powering through or mindset.  No.  This time, I told my son not to worry.  That the other team was a team of boys just like him.  That they are not super heroes or gods and that he should only go out on the field and have some fun.  To remember that baseball is a game and that it is supposed to be fun.  That he should simply do his best and help his teammates do their best, cheer each other on and most of all, have fun.

In conversations with other parents at the game, I found out that they, too, had told their boys similar things.  I felt very relaxed going into Saturday's game unlike the last one we played against this team.  We had already gone to the dark place and had come out on the other side intact.  Where the last game was scary, this one was just a game of baseball on a hot, Saturday morning.

As the boys started to play, it was obvious that they were all feeling better about this game.  They played with confidence and were keeping up.  They were making plays in the outfield like they should and were keeping the other team from scoring.  As we came up to bat in the third inning, we loaded the bases.  We had not scored at that point and the other team had 1 run on the board.  We had two outs and my son came up to bat. 

Let me preface this part of the story by saying that Jack is known to have a great swing.  He is powerful and he works hard.  He goes to the batting cages nearly every day (his choice) and has even taken a few private lessons to improve his hitting.  He has the best hitting average on the team.  I don't know what his number is, but the last time the coach told me what it was a couple of months ago, it was .630 which is pretty high.  Jack is the number 4 hitter, which means he is the "clean up" because that position is supposed to "clean" the bases by hitting RBI's (runners batted in.)  So Jack is a really good hitter, but the thing that has eluded him was the over the fence home run hit that he has dreamed of since he first started playing.  Other boys on his team have hit home runs, but not him.

Yesterday was his day.  With bases loaded, Jack came up to the plate and, as his coach signaled him to do, took the first pitch (meaning he didn't swing) which was a strike.  Looking back at the coach, he confidently took the next signal which was to swing away.  At that point, he kicked the clay with his right foot precisely three times, digging the front of his cleat in slightly, circled the bat three times in front of his body (you know, like a propeller) and then positioned the bat over his right shoulder to wait for the pitch.  As the pitch came, he swung and the ball went...and kept going...and going...over the fence.  It was perfect.  It was amazing.  It was a grand slam.  The bases were loaded.  And then they weren't.  My son had cleaned the bases and now his team had 4 runs on the scoreboard.  Just like that.

In that moment, I felt so many things.  Excitement.  Jubilation.  Pride.  My son had done this thing.  He had accomplished what he dreamed of doing.  He was the king of the team at that moment.  As he ran around the bases, he had a huge grin on his face.  He knew, of course, what he had done and he was proud.  All of his teammates ran out of the dugout and greeted him with cheers and slaps on the back at home plate.  He was a hero to them.  He had put 4 points on the board and now they were winning!  Against their rivals!  Even better!  I noticed that the coach on the other team was much quieter during this game.

At that moment and for the rest of the day I felt such pride for my son.  It brought tears to my eyes every time I thought about how he must feel.  I was a cheerleader but never played a team sport as a child.  I never felt a moment like he had...the pride of accomplishment of reaching a goal as part of a team.  Of boosting my teammates by being my best.  I imaged what he must feel.  The confidence, the accomplishment, the happiness, the respect of the other boys.  It's hard for me to put into words what I have been feeling...this swelling in my heart.  It is so strong it almost feels like heartbreak.

My boy is not a baby anymore.  He is growing into a young man who can feel certain that he is capable of anything.  Wow!  That is my son!  I carried him in my very own body!  I helped MAKE him!  He is MY son!

So what happened with the game?  We scored two more times and they put a total of 4 points on the board.  At the bottom of the sixth and final inning, we were winning 6 to 4.  Our boys were feeling great and were confident of the win, but then, someone on the other team realized that our pitcher had pitched one inning too many and brought it to the attention of the umpire.  After some discussion between the coaches and the tournament directors, it was determined that we had to forfeit the game because of the error.  So we lost.  On a technicality.  So our team's inexperience ultimately lost us another game to our rivals. 

How stinkin cute are these boys?

But you know what?  Our boys felt like winners anyway.  They knew what the score was.  They knew they had played their best.  They knew that they deserved respect.  In fact, though the other team took the win and continued on in the tournament, some of the boys and parents from the other team came over to our side and congratulated our boys.  Two parents from the other team shook their heads and said they never would have wanted to win like this.  I respected the fact that they felt that way and that they had the grace and dignity to come over and say it to us.  To me, that is the very definition of sportsmanship.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

THIS summer.

It's been a while since I've had the time and energy to write.  What have I been doing this summer you ask?  Not what you think!   If I ever needed a reminder that once you have kids, your life is not your own, then I have received said reminder THIS summer.
THIS summer is not filled with fabulous trips to the beach, nor vacations to exotic locations.  It is not filled with pina coladas by the pool nor boat trips to Peanut Island.  No.  THIS summer is filled with 1st and 3rd Defense and Bunt Play Gray!  It's filled with orange clay and batting cages...dirty knees and smelly socks.  Yes, THIS summer is the summer of baseball in all its hot, sweaty glory.  THIS is the summer I learned the signals for "fake bunt", "take pitch." and "swing away." 
THIS is the summer, I have watched my son work with single-minded dedication at improving his game. THIS is the summer, I have gained a new respect for the finer points of baseball and the complex plays involved in making a successful team.  THIS is the summer I have seen my son learn how to be a winner and how to lose with dignity.
I wouldn't trade THIS summer for all the vacations in Europe, cocktails by exotic beaches nor adventures in the Amazon Forest.  I wouldn't trade THIS summer with THIS boy for anything.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Filling the void...

After a great visit with my sister-in-law Cindy, I feel really good!  I have missed having girlfriends around me.  As I started writing this blog, I mentioned that my sister had moved to Hawaii and a couple of close friends had also moved away.  Writing here has helped ease the empty space that has formed in the wake of losing my girls, but honestly, sometimes you just need the face time with another woman. 

I speak to my sister on a regular basis on the phone.  Even with the 6 hour time difference, we are managing to stay in touch, but it's not the same.  Sometimes I find myself wanting to talk to her and knowing she's asleep.  Sometimes, I just want to go to a thrift store with her.  She is fun to be around and can make friends with anyone.  She loves finding quirky shops and likes to get to know the shop owners.  Some of her very good friends are people she met walking into a shop or restaurant.  I miss her.

The girlfriend void is more complicated.  Something happened with my friends about a year ago.  Actually, in retrospect, what happened is that I found out that people are judgmental (even those that you think you can trust with anything are not really like that.)  I had some friends (one in particular) that I trusted like that...like a sister.  I found out the hard way that I was being naive.  People will always have their opinions about what is right or wrong and no matter how close you think you are to someone, they can judge and hurt you just like everyone else.  There really are very few people walking around that you can trust like that.  Unfortunately, the people who are left in my life in the wake of what happened, those who are true friends, don't live near me.  They are there, but there is far from here.

My sister is not judgmental like that, not with me.  She loves me unconditionally.  She doesn't care what I have done or will do.  I know I can count on her to have my back, to be there for me, to love me.  She remembers our history.  She knows about the sacrifices we have made for each other over the years.  She remembers these things even after we have disagreements that get ugly...because, of course, we occasionally have these.

Having Cindy here reminded me how much I actually need that in close proximity.  Everyone needs that kind of love and support.  Since my "friends" hurt me, I am finding that I am developing "friendships" with my fellow online bloggers.  I find myself talking or confiding in those that read my blog, not just a flesh and blood woman.  It comes close...especially when those of you who read these posts actually comment and tell me what you think about what I've written here.  It's almost like a conversation...almost.

Cindy and I had some great talks about the things we have in common...husbands, kids, baseball and mothers who think you are doing everything wrong.  We walked on the beach and searched for sea glass together.  We rode the slides at the Rapids and laughed so hard we cried.  We rolled our eyes when our kids ignored us and dove into the dirty pond water anyway and we had a glass of wine to make it all better.  It was good having her here and I am going to miss her.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A house full of family...

I am so happy to have my sister-in-law Cindy and my niece Kylee and nephew Everett staying with us for a few days.  Things are so much more fun when there is a super-sized family to go along!
Found this card and loved it!  I think it about sums up a mom's daily grind...

Friday, June 3, 2011