Number 3 started his first season of t-ball seven years ago when he was five years old.
It was clear from the moment he started that he had quite a bit of natural talent.
Two years later, at seven years old, he started playing travel ball.
For the last five summers, I have anxiously awaited the start of travel baseball season.
Everyone knows I love swimming, but I really love watching my kid play travel ball.
I love the feel of the grass on my feet. I love the sun and the dirt and the nerves and the excitement.
But I also love the travel baseball family we have been a part of for the last couple years.
Every baseball game is like a little party.
The siblings run around and play together during the game. The moms bring food and it’s a big picnic for twelve families.
On Friday nights the team will hang out after practice at one of the boys’ houses. The kids will swim, and the parents will eat and drink and laugh.
It’s a little crazy during May, June and July juggling travel ball games and swim meets, but boy do I look forward to these three months every year.
Eventually I knew the day would come when Number 3 would have to make a choice.
But I didn’t think it would be this summer.
A couple weeks ago, Number 3 came up to me and said, “Mom, I don’t want to play baseball anymore. I just want to focus on swimming.”
We still had at least a year before we needed to make a choice!
That was the problem.
We weren’t the ones playing. Only Number 3 was.
And it was time. He was done.
“But this year you are playing in a tournament at the beach!!!!
I told him.
“Mom,” he said. “We can go to the beach any time.”
“BUT YOU CAN’T PLAY BASEBALL THERE!!!!”
That’s when I realized I had lost a little perspective.
“Mom, the only reason I would still play is so Papa isn’t sad,” he told me.
I assured him that his grandfather would be fine, and that he should only be playing for him.
And I could see the relief on his face when I gave him that reassurance that it was okay to move on.
Papa would survive.
And so would I.
I cried for a good two days, though.
I’m glad Number 3 was able to come to this decision on his own. He just kind of lost his joy for playing baseball instead of having to eventually choose between two things he really loved.
He’s not torn, and for that I am grateful.
But I’m really, really, REALLY gonna miss my travel baseball family and this summer at the ball field.