Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Old Ball Game

The winter blues are blowing away, spring is in the air and the weather man says we'll be in the 70's all week. Living in Texas in the winter and early spring does have its advantages. Except for a freak snow storm in mid-March, the weather has been just picture perfect. A little colder and snowier than most winters, but hey, no ice storms, so double thumbs up!

I guess you could say, except for Christmas, I hate winter. You see, I have what they call a depressive personality. I need to see the blue skies and have sunshine or I get a little tired and cranky. Daylight savings doesn't help, at all. I circle the leap forward on my calendar each year, because that's another hour of sunlight I get in the evening. Let me tell you, being home with the kids is made a whole lot easier when you can have more daylight in the evening to do stuff, either in the backyard or park.

This year, we tried something different with our kids. We have them both enrolled in an activity at the same time. Usually, we make them take turns. The primary reason to do that is of course, the expense. But this year, it seemed important to sign them up for an activity that might cause conflicts in our pristine schedule. I felt like I needed the added stress in my life more than anything else. I've realized that I need a little stress in my life to keep my blood pumping. It's true that if you're not doing something, then you're not really living. Now that the kids are busy with activities, I find myself with more organized thoughts and an improved state of being. Wow, who knew!

Anyway, my son is playing little league baseball. This is a sport I never played as a kid. My games were basketball and soccer. My boy never had an interest in baseball until we signed him up. He told us he would give it a go, but he really couldn't wait for football season - not sure if Mom will allow that idea to gain momentum, but she was okay with baseball. Anyway, he thinks baseball is great now. And today, well today was his first ballgame.

It's hard not to be overly prideful in your kid's accomplishments. There are a lot of little stickers on the backs of cars in Dallas that say things like, "Jason - Plano Football" or "My kid is a brainiac" or "I'm a proud parent...". That seems like a lot for kids to live up to. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with a well placed sticker, but what if your kid doesn't do very well at anything? Are you any less proud? Pride in your kids seems like a slippery slope. You have to tell them you're proud of them, but you don't want to make them think that's what it's all about. It's been my experience that you tell them you love them about a bazillion more times than you tell them you are proud of them. Otherwise, the kids might get into this mode of performance for affection. Donald Miller writes in his book "Through Painted Deserts", that his mom's car sticker would have said something like "Proud parent of a lazy son". Hum...sounds like something my mom would have put on her car.

Perhaps we should have stickers on our cars that say "I love my kids and they know it". That wouldn't sell as well, I know, but how refreshing would it be if we let other people know that we love our kids? Would our kids appreciate that knowledge too, especially when they get a little older? I know, they would think their parents were nerds and they'd say they were all embarrassed and everything. But don't they think that already? Ask your teenager if they think you're a nerd. More than 98% will answer "yes". Heck I thought I had the greatest Mom and Dad in the world, but I thought they were nerds; especially when my dad would grow out that 70's mustache and wear his lime green polyester leisure suit with the round zipper grabby thing. But hey, I knew my parents loved me - unconditionally.

I know my kids will absolutely fail at a lot of things and I'll be there to pat them on the back and tell them I think they're great. They'll also do a lot of good things and I'll be there to tell them I think they're great. It's kind of like God in a way, if you think about it. He loves us unconditionally too, not because we do good things. It's not a performance thing, like selling Girl Scout Cookies. It's just because that's the kind of Father he is. And that's the kind of Dad I want to be too. That's not bad company to keep, if you ask me.

Oh, and you're asking how did he do at his first game? He went 1 for 1 with a single, right past the second basemen. He caught a mean left field and spent an inning behind the plate with the catcher's mask on. We got ice cream on the way home and he had the time of his life.

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