THE thing I've anticipated most as a parent is watching one of my kids play tee ball. In my mind, it has always been this magical, wondrous moment. The epitome of all things good about parenting. And I've been slowly counting down the days ever since Jacob was born. I tried not to explode with happiness when Jacob told me he wanted to play this year. And while getting to practice (which requires leaving work a little early and sometimes towing two other grumpy children around) has often been a headache, tee ball has not disappointed.
The kids are clueless and unfiltered and hilarious. They spin circles at second base. They do cartwheels in the outfield. They do potty dances as short stop. They underthrow and overcatch and there is a LOT of ball chasing. When they try to tag a runner out, they end up playing tag. Sometimes they run clockwise around the bases. It's the funniest thing I've ever seen in my entire life.
Saturday was Jacob's first game and we had been talking about it excitedly all week. I planned out a nice big breakfast the night before. I packed the car full of folding chairs and coolers and snacks and picnic blankets. I got the kids up and ready and everyone out the door much earlier than necessary. Sadly, Jacob's team hat was no where to be found. As we dashed out of the house I reluctantly grabbed a Seahawks hat and we were on our way. We even showed up at the ballfield twenty minutes early!
And no one was there.
I tried to talk myself out of a mini-panic. I took out my phone and googled the name of the field on the game schedule. This was Gordon field....so, what the heck? I took off towards a nearby field to see if there had been a mistake. No one was there either. I went back to Gordon, still no one. With spotty reception, I looked up and called the coach. Voicemail. I then tried every single parent on the roster until finally someone answered. Turns out, there are two Gordon fields. The correct one isn't anywhere to be found on the internet. The "experienced" tee-ball parents all know this. I felt like a total newb.
We finally got to the correct field, five minutes past game time. I parked precariously close to a ditch (only spot left) and balanced the diaper bag, picnic blanket, snack bag, and Jon's carrier to the dugout while prodding the other two kids along. Apologizing profusely to the coach I asked to retrieve Jacob's uniform. The coach hands me a jersey shirt. Hmmmmm, "And pants?" I asked skeptically.
Turns out, kids are supposed to buy their own pants. Another tee-ball secret that only the experienced parents know. Ugh. Why didn't anyone tell me this?! Am I missing all the memos? ... So Jacob runs out to join his team. In a Seahawks hat and non-matching Adidas track pants. I am officially the best tee-ball mom on the planet.
We don't need no stinking pants!
First game hit!
We find a seat on the bleachers and Ryan immediately has to pee. There are no bathrooms. We make an inconspicuous run to the bushes, where we end up watering the plants several times over the long one hour game (no more water bottles ever again!).
While Jacob was busy playing, Ryan was busy photographing his crocs.
But other than the location and uniform debacles, things were just as amazing as I'd imagined they would be so many times over the past six years. Cheering. Kids laughing. Watching the grass pickers. Concession stands. The sound of a bat thwacking a ball. The way you can hang your hands perfectly into the diamonds of the dugout fencing. The smell of ball field dirt. The colorful jerseys.
Catchers have the important job of placing the ball back on the tee.
It IS just a game.
But it's an awesome game.
And the kids. Oh the kids. I don't know all their names. But I already love every single one.
After practice, I took my three out to celebrate. Just me and the boys (husband was out of town). There was no fighting. No screaming. No whining. No crying. It was wonderful.
The kids have been playing with an old calculator for the past week. They take turns punching buttons (for Ryan it is totally random, but Jake actually knows what he's doing) and marveling at the answers that appear on the solar-powered screen. They spend so much time playing with the calculator, or as Ryan calls it his "escalator," that I'm pretty sure they won't ever need real phones.