Monday, March 31, 2014

Reflecting on the Journey

I've been wanting to write this post for some time now, yet every time I sat down the words just wouldn't come.  Perhaps it just wasn't the time for it before now. I've had so many thoughts and emotions tumbling around in my head and heart for the past few days as I watched J's excitement over his success at achieving his goal to play college baseball.  I can't help reflecting on the journey that has brought him to this point.

The journey of course began when J was small and we signed him up for Little League.  My dad was his coach for 6 of his nine years of  Little League, laying the foundation for what would become a lifelong love of the sport.  J loved his Little League years for the most part, even the disappointments he faced.  And there were disappointments.  More times than once he was passed over for All Stars or told he just didn't have what it takes to be a star.  And while those disappointments hurt at the time, they ultimately fueled J's determination to never give up on his dream.  My heart broke for my boy every time he faced one of those disappointments; there were times when I was almost consumed by anger towards the people crushing his young heart.  But J just kept working and soon left Little League behind for high school ball, where I naively thought we would leave behind the politics and games of Little League.  If anything, it was worse and that anger turned to outright rage as once again J had to deal with disappointments and set backs.  There were many times I would have unleashed that rage on J's behalf yet he always asked me not to.  Hard as it was I bit my tongue and let J deal with the situation, taking solace in his winning attitude, no matter the circumstances.  Coach C was a huge help, allowing me to vent my frustrations as often as I needed, and reassuring me that everything would be okay.  Speaking of Coach C, J's high school years led us to TP, which were the best years of J's baseball career to date.  Those two summer seasons with Coach C honed J into the player he is today.  And of course, for J and for all of us, the best thing we took away from TP is Coach C himself, who has truly become part of our family.   And now, J is on the threshold of the most exciting time in his baseball career yet, college ball.  Sitting in the coach's office Friday, listening to what he had to say about the program, his goals for the team, and what he expects from J was a little surreal.  I was so nervous it's a wonder I didn't topple right off the couch I was perched on.  And when the coach told J what scholarship amount he could offer him and asked if he wanted to be a part of Belmont Abbey baseball it took everything I had not to burst into tears.  Especially when before answering J looked at me, with every baseball dream he's ever had clearly visible in his eyes, waiting for my nod of approval.  I gladly gave him that approval, blinking back tears, as I watched and listened to my boy accept the opportunity he's worked a lifetime to have.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Officially A Crusader

As a parent,  I am always proud of my kids. But there are times when that pride fills me up to near bursting. Today was one of those times.  I posted a few months back about J having a college interested in having him play baseball for them next year.  He's emailed with the coach several times, but we hadn't heard anything definite back.  Until today.  It so happened that Belmont Abbey College was having an Open House this weekend.  So I decided to bring J up for a closer look at the school.  He notified the baseball coach we were coming and had the opportunity to meet with both the head and assistant coaches today.  And I am thrilled to announce that my J is now officially a Crusader, having verbally committed to attend Belmont Abbey and play baseball next year.  For those who have followed J's baseball journey on this blog, you know how much this means to us all. To say I am proud of him is not nearly an adequate enough expression for all I am feeling.  I am full to bursting.  With pride, joy, excitement, and even a little sadness, for the realization of J's dream will take him away from those who love him the most.  Yet the joy far outweighs the sadness.  For so long I've watched J working towards his dream, never wavering in his determination.  I've cried watching him suffer disappointments and set backs.  I've shared the thrill of his many successes.  And I've had the privilege to watch him grow from the tiny boy who wanted to be a baseball player into a young man who is a baseball player in his very soul.  Sitting in that coach's office today, I experienced one of my most joyful moments as a mother, watching J as he accepted the chance to live out his dream.  It's a moment that will stay with me forever.