Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Of Things Gone By

The Friday night workout crew.
Read these thoughts I had last year as the draft approached and I was preparing for my second son to go out there into the world to see what he could find.

I drive on these nights, these long Friday nights of tending to my son, and let my heart drift out seeking the future, wondering what is actually going to happen to this kid. It is often past 10:00 as we leave the highway and coast down the exit ramp toward Spring Mill Road which is a main thoroughfare through the suburbs back into northwest Philadelphia. All is calm and quiet, somehow, as we re-enter our little world of Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy. 

I’ve made it a habit of not turning on the radio while we do these trips. The three (or four) of us chat and deliberate. Usually by the time we are on Spring Mill Road gently navigating through stoplights and intersections, channeling along next to split level ranches and schools and parks, we are speaking quietly of the future, pondering Danny’s possibilities, Julya’s year next year with Jesse off somewhere, and Jesse’s chances in the draft. It is like we are observing the cover of a book with a beautiful illustration of a landscape filled with gentle, warm light and open roads and vistas of possibility. 

April 10, 2011
My core feels that everything will be all right for all three of these young people -- for all of Jesse's friends, in fact. I am filled with love for all of them. But I am filled with a sense of dread, too, and a weird kind of frustration. Regardless of the final outcome, the book we have been reading together is coming to an end. When I let myself think about it, I realize that I don’t want this to end in so many ways; I don’t want an outcome. I just want to keep on trying, continuing these drives, and our 90-minute training sessions with The Chucks, the staccato conversations with Danny between pitches, the sweet talks with Julya about how frustrating it is not to know what’s going to happen between her and her young baseball star boy friend. I want to just drive in the darkness and know that that book with its stunning cover is out there, and that my son is next to me, and that my love is still some use to him, and that he will stay innocent and hopeful by my side, and that his frustrations will never be truly painful because there is always tomorrow, and tomorrow will be full of infinite possibility and promise and all the roads to success are still open and still calling. 

If you have a young person playing ball, make sure to go watch them all you can. Be aware, while you sit in the stands, of how much you love them, and understand that these days will come to an end. The more you love them as they play, the more you will remember, and life may still feel sweet and promising whenever you see kids out on a ball field ... or pros even under the lights.

See you out there.

1 comment:

Chris in Ohio said...

My son is only 15, but I feel the same way every time I go to a game. I especially love the away games, where he's stuck in the car with me, chatting in a way he never does when he hasn't been inspired by a night of baseball. I wish it would never end, but I am aware of how close we are to the end of our journey together this way. You have such a beautifully poignant way of painting what's in our hearts--and great advice at the end. I will forever see my son in every baseball game I attend or even listen to on the radio.