Friday, June 24, 2011

Play ball

We are obsessed with baseball.  

I am a sports fan and a competitive person by nature, but Tim and I really started caring about baseball after our oldest son began playing tee ball.  Peyton was a serious, quiet boy (still is).  Being a person who is overemotional and lacks control, no one usually has to guess how I am feeling.  Peyton on the other hand is stoic, serious, thoughtful and reserved, I am often unsure what he is feeling.  

Peyton's first team, 2007

That first season of tee-ball Peyton didn't talk to anyone--he seriously sat on the bench and didn't speak while the other kids where dumping water bottles, climbing the fence and goofing around.  I felt bad for him and even encouraged climbing on the fence.  After I asked him if he was happy I expected him to tell me that he was miserable.  He looked at me with his very serious face and said, "I love it."  Really?  Okay.

When the season was done I thought well, that's it, onto try the next sport.  But Peyton didn't move on.  He was in the backyard hitting balls everyday.  He began following the Detroit Tigers and knew the stats like he was preparing for an anchor job at ESPN.  He and his dad went to his first Tigers game and he refused to leave until the game was over.  Sat in his seat and watched every pitch.

His love was and is intense.

For a the next couple of seasons I would complain to friends that he just didn't seem joyful.  I asked for advice about how to get him to talk more, laugh more, be goofier.  One friend asked me, "is it bothering him?"  I hadn't really thought about that....I just thought about how I felt.  

His lack of jumping up and down and yelling "I am so loving this!" still makes me uncomfortable.  But it doesn't mean he isn't happy, it just means he is different than me.  It has been a real lesson in parenting, and just basic human nature, about accepting how people express themselves.

Baseball taught me that.  

Baseball also taught me that playing catch with my kids is a great way to connect and talk.  

Baseball gave me a tool to reach my kids, understand them better and even get to play with them more.

This year Peyton started a travel baseball team, which is a whole other beast, but again he is loving it.  Peyton is not jumping around, giggling and roughhousing with his teammates.  He still doesn't talk that much, but he is happy.  

So that is how it started, but of course we took it to a ridiculous level.  
This is our backyard, which is now all baseball diamond.

And watching his games I feel like Steve Martin in Parenthood.  Bottom line because it matters so much to him, it matters so much to me.

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