Last week was our last baseball game.
One last time to walk up to home plate.
One last at bat.
One last hit.
One last run to first base.
I’ve have watched more baseball than episodes of the Real Housewives of anything. I’ve sat in the pouring rain and the blazing sun. I’ve huddled underneath blankets, shivering and frozen with a cup of hot chocolate. I’ve sat in stands you could fry an egg on and sipped sweet tea to stay cool. I’ve worn mom shirts proudly printed with baseball numbers printed on them and cheered until you couldn’t hear my voice and waved my hands around like I was on the jumbotron and high-fived anyone in sight. I’ve sat in the car on long rides home after a loss and listened to the silent sadness of a baseball player covered in red clay and dirt and I’ve danced in the stands like a contestant on America’s Got Talent.
Last week, suddenly, without me really noticing…
…all that sitting came to an end.
My reaction kind of took me by surprise.
I mean—I knew I would be a little sad—it was the last baseball game after all.
But no one warned me about all the emotions I would feel.
No one told me about all the tears that would spill down my face.
No one mentioned the empty place in my heart.
No one said.
After the last game and the last goodbye to the field and the last round of team pictures…
…there was the last baseball banquet.
It was an amazing night. There were awards and scholarships and yummy food and laughter and more tears. I watched my son, Zack, stand there proudly with his teammates and celebrate the season and listen to words of wisdom from the coach.
At the end of the night, my son walked up and handed me this.
It was a bottle of dirt.
Crumbly, dry, brown dirt from the baseball field with a note attached that read in part:
On this dirt you have shown your true grit, determination, and character.
This dirt holds your laughter as tightly as it holds your frustrations.
On this dirt you have made friendships that will always be a part of you.
Life goes on after this dirt, but nothing can compare to the moments you spent on it.
It’s so true.
The foundation for my son’s character was formed in every footstep he took on this dirt.
His ability to set goals and work through problems and show up when the going got rough and celebrate every victory and learn from every defeat.
It was all there.
In every footprint.
He began the game as a boy.
And walked off the field a man.
I love you, Z.
Forever. And ever. Amen.
PS Can I please drive you to practice one more time?
PPS If you need a little more baseball with your coffee—this is my favorite baseball story EVER in the history of ever.