Tag Archives: Softball

The Comeback. Day 4

Emma has a softball game today.

30 days of thankfulness

For most families who have daughters who play softball, this is a “by the way” kind of statement. For me, these are not simply words in passing; they are words swimming in thankfulness.

May 5, 2011 is a day no one in my home will ever forget. If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know what that date means.

If not, then, it is the day that I have often referred to as “The Snap Heard Round the World”. It is the day that Emma, while sliding into home plate during a softball game, broke both her tibia and fibula (the two bones in her lower left leg). It was also the day before her 13th birthday.

It was the day that started us all on a long and lesson-filled 8 month journey.

There were some incredibly difficult moments—moments that broke this mama’s heart into a million pieces. And I’m not going to lie, it was hard not to let those tears spill over, especially given the fact that I cry over Hallmark commercials. Oh, and those Folgers commercials where the kid comes home from the service for Christmas and surprises his family. Yeah, pretty pathetic, I know. Through it all, though, as we mama’s try to do, I worked very hard to stay focused on the blessings, because I had to, for Emma. We prayed, we worked hard to stay positive, to pay attention to all the lessons, and to find the humor in our situation. To thank God.

She endured casting, surgery (2 plates and 17 screws), lots of pain, long bed-ridden days of Criminal Minds marathons, frustration, incisions that would not heal, countless doctor’s visits and months of physical therapy.

All the while, Emma kept saying she wanted to play softball again.

I was leery. I mean, did I really want my baby girl out there again? After all she had endured? But to Emma, I said, Absolutely! You will play again! All the while, trying to suppress that mama’s instinct to protect my baby.

After she was released from her orthopedist and her physical therapist in January of 2012, just on the cusp of spring softball registration, I asked her if she wanted to register. She said she did, but I could sense the hesitation. Would Coach Ricky be coaching her? She asked. Because she only wanted to play for him, someone who would understand her need to ease back into the game. No, Coach Ricky was not going to be coaching, or so we thought. After the registration deadline passed, we learned that Coach Ricky was, in fact, going to coach (long story). But that shipped had sailed. (Now, I see that as divine intervention, because she truly needed more time to be physically ready to play.)

We did go see a couple of games once the spring season started and she did not seem too sad about not playing. Her teammates were glad to see her, as were her coaches. And we spent her “Leg-iversary” (otherwise known as the anniversary of the broken leg) watching a softball game played by her former teammates on the very field on which her accident happened. That’s right, we thumb our noses at you, broken leg! Difficult, but cathartic!

This fall came around and she was ready. Really ready, and off she went.

Emma back in action.So today, when I go see my amazing daughter play first base and watch her run the bases, I know what it has taken for her to get to this place. What she has had to overcome. Going back to play this fall took a lot of courage. She has conquered the fears she had about playing again. She worked hard to get back the flexibility and range of motion in her ankle and leg to be able to run again. She is not ready to slide yet—and may never be, but I get that. When I see her play now, I see a more confident ball player. I see a leader. I see a young woman emerging. It is awesome to watch.

When I am watching her play, my heart is so full. I whisper prayers of thanks to God for bringing her (and all of us) through such a difficult time and bringing her to the point where she is today. For the lessons she has learned at such a young age. For her bravery. For her ability to walk today without a limp and to run. For the healing that has taken place not only in her bones, but also in her heart and mind from that traumatic experience. Unless you see her scars, you would never know what happened to her.

Can you be more than thankful about something? If so, that would be me. Thankful for healing and perseverance and facing fears and courage and lessons learned and grace for each day. For getting to the other side.

For Emma. For softball. For today.

 

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” ~Alphonse Karr

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Life and Peace

If you were one of the 5 people who read my worrywart post from the other day, and you managed to get to the end of it, I thank you. It is not my normal fare, but honestly, I found it quite cathartic, and as one who tends to “verbally process” things, it really did help me shift my focus. So, thanks.

“That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.”  ~Chinese Proverb

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Jacob's octanitrocubane molecule 2012At 17, Jacob is finishing up his 11th grade year. He has done very well academically this year and continues to become more independent. He is driving a little with his permit, but we are not quite ready to A) set him loose on these here SC roads and B) pay the insurance required for that there teen driver! I think his favorite thing right now is annoying his sister. Not a shocker. Especially since I only too vividly recollect my brothers’ enjoyment at annoying me when they were Jacob’s age. (No, I am not at all scarred.) He also enjoys his computer time and next year is taking a web design class at the homeschool co-op to get his feet a little more wet in that area. He is also interested in video game design and is very science minded.We will see what becomes of that! Hopefully some kind of career. (God is in control!!) He has made such incredible progress the last three years. I cannot remember the last time he wore his earplugs! Dare I say it? I feel like Asperger’s does not rule his life anymore. It’s true. Don’t get me wrong; it is there, lurking. But he is so much better able to manage the things that are frustrating or upsetting for him, which has come with lots of practice, patience and prayer. I can’t describe how proud of him we are and how thankful we are that he can enjoy his life so much more.

Emma, 8th grade dance 2012Emma nears the end of her middle school career. She, too, has excelled at school. She was stunning at her 8th grade dance a couple of weeks ago and it blows my mind at how grown up she is. Her beauty is both inward and outward, and I am so thankful. She keeps me rolling with her hilarious antics…busting a move in the grocery store the other day, and those quips of hers…I just don’t know where she gets it. She almost decided to spend May 5th of this year wrapped in bubble wrap and holed up here at the casa, since last May 5th was spent breaking her leg (and the subsequent 8 months spent rehabbing). Instead, we decided to go watch her former softball teammates play ball on the very field upon which she snapped her leg in two! That’s right! Take THAT broken leg! The next day, she turned 14. In a few months, she will enter high school. Someone please stop time already! She is 1 part excited, 2 parts terrified, but I know she will do just great.

Clyn and I just seem to be getting older…achy backs, achy feet and the like. It is so crazy to look around us and see our friends’ children graduating high school, getting married, then their kids having kids. I look at Clyn and say, “We cannot possibly be old enough to be grandparents, right?” But apparently, we are. Clyn works too hard, and when he isn’t working at his paying job, he is working at enjoying the kids and me. He is a great guy.

Emma's 14th birthday 5-12 012I have finished up my first year teaching a middle school science class at our local homeschool co-op. It was so much fun! I was nervous about doing it and yes, there were some days I felt completely clueless, but hey, let’s face it…that isn’t any different from any other day! Right? Next year, I will teach two classes there and I am really excited about it. The co-op has been such a wonderful part of our homeschooling experience and has helped Jacob grow tremendously. Such a blessing!

There is a perpetual calendar I keep on my desk that is put out by Joyce Meyer, who I enjoy for her humor and straight-forward teaching approach. Each day I enjoy reading the scripture passages and brief devotional.

Here is today’s:

“Our thoughts become our words, and our words affect our feelings and actions. Therefore, it is vitally important that we choose life-generating thoughts. When we do, right words will follow.”

The mind governed by the flesh is death,but the mind governed by the Spirit is lifeand peace. ~Romans 8:6 NIV

Amen! I choose life and peace today.

That is all!

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Rock me like a Her-icane!

“Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out with the crowd.  Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks.  I don’t care if I never get back. Let me root, root, root for the home team. If they don’t win it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out at the old ball game.” ~Jack Norworth, 1908

 

My dear daughter Emma, 12, is approaching the halfway mark for season 3 of her recreational softball “career”. Currently, they have won 2 and lost 4. C’est la vie.

DSCF7758The photo to the left was taken during season 1 when she played for the Her-icanes.  (Clever, right?  I wish I could take credit for it.) It was a great time.  She met new people (which is not always easy for her), learned the basics of the game and, I like to think, grew in self-confidence. Her coaches were fun guys who were not OVERLY serious about the game, but serious enough, if you get my drift. So in my estimation, the season was very successful.  Now,  depending on who you ask, the definition of success may vary.  If you determine “success” by how many games you win, well, that would have defined the Her-icanes as a dismal failure.  To my recollection they had a 2-10 season.  If you ask Emma, she would say that she had a great time, and she didn’t focus on the fact that they “only” won 2 games.  That, to me, equates with success.

She played again for the Her-icanes that fall when the rec league divides the age groups up differently and you end up with a wider age range on the teams. My feeling is they do this because so many less girls come out for fall ball, but I can’t say for sure. Again, she had a great time and again the Her-icanes had a “losing” season.

Season 2, Emma played for another team, since she moved up in age divisions.  She improved in skill, met a few more new kids and reunited with some from her previous experiences. As coaching went, it was a  less great experience. The coaches were not bad folks,  but suffice it to say there was some angst on the part of the coaching staff towards the “powers that be” of the league, which amounted to some feelings of our team not getting treated fairly. I won’t go into all the sordid details.  But there was lots of whining.  This angsty-ness spilled over to the girls and the parents.  The overall ambience was about as happy as a kid going to the the dentist for a root canal.  Emma still loved softball, but I could tell it was wearing on her.  Top all that off with the fact that we went 0-8 for the season. It was tough.  And after experiencing three losing seasons, I had a bummed out girl on my hands.  Emma chose not to play fall ball this past fall.

Of course, we know that winning isn’t everything, and we told Emma that.  Of course, we told Emma how proud of her we were.  We told her to focus on the friends she was making and on how much she had individually improved as a player. All the things you are supposed to say to your kid.

After three consecutive losing seasons, Emma had definitely learned how to be a gracious loser—which is a very important skill to have, don’t get me wrong.  But she wanted very badly to WIN.  And, I’m not gonna lie—this mama wanted it too.  As parents, don’t we want to see our kids win?  We want to see them feeling good about themselves and about their accomplishments.

But haven’t we all met “those” kids, who have always been on the winning teams. Those who have never had to learn to deal with losing.  Who have “those” parents who are  the “bi-winning” crazy parents in the stands talking about their perfect kids, demanding that their kids deserve some kind of god-like status, arguing every call with the ump. Aren’t they incredibly annoying??  Yes.  Yes they are.  But we all know some folks like that.  It sets a terrible example for the kids. I mean, they are kids, after all. It’s not like this is the world series of softball or anything.  It’s not even high school.  C’mon people!

If I am going to be totally honest here, though, I find myself feeling a little schizophrenic at times…wanting her team to win, wanting her to play well, wishing the other team would swing at terrible pitches, or, oh I don’t know, trip on the way to first base to give our girls the advantage.  It is a very slippery slope towards becoming the “crazy sports parent”. And on the other hand, I find myself saying, “Girl! You need to get a grip! It is only a game.”

Right? Right??!

Last night, in game 6 of this season (Go, Crushers!), we were playing a team we were “sure” we could beat.  I mean, in theory we should have won.  The other team hadn’t won a single game all season. (Sound familiar?) We had been up 7 – 4 and suddenly, the other team is at bat, bases loaded and the batter hits a grand slam.  Dang it.  Suddenly, our win was not so certain after all.  My dear friend, Torri, and I, found ourselves feeling the tension! YIKES!  We can’t lose this game!  Oh, the pressure!

“C’mon Crushers!”

“Get in the game!”

“Look alive out there, girls!  You can do this!”

You know, all those encouraging things we parents choose to holler at our kids out there on the field. Yeah.  Well, their next batter gets up to the plate.  Looks like an easy out.  Well, I’ll have you know, that little girl bunted the ball.  Our girls struggle to retrieve it, lob it over to first base.  It was close, but that little girl made it safely on first.  My first response was, DANG IT!  Then I looked at that little darling over there on first base.  Her little face beaming.  Arms in the air, doing her little happy dance.  (Not to be confused with a “gloaty” dance.) I saw pure happiness on her face as she turned and high-fived her coach, as if she had never made it on base before.  And I don’t know, maybe she never had.  But in that moment, I heard that still, small voice say, “That is somebody’s daughter, somebody’s baby girl, who just hit that ball and made it to first.” I felt some instant guilt and the recognition of this fact: That was us last year.  And the thrill of just getting on base was enough to make you do the happy dance.  Forget about winning.  Just getting one little hit.  Scoring one run. Watching your baby girl’s face beam like that. That, right there, is success.

I was really kind of ashamed of myself for getting so carried away.  I mean, it really is only a game.

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