Last September I wrote about our family hosting a minor league grinder. In April we were ecstatic that he was heading back to Midland. However, we knew our time was likely fleeting as he had had an awesome season last year and even started Spring Training at Major League camp. When time is limited but you don't know by how much, you try to make every moment count.
On Friday the kids were at MDO, so Cash and I and our favorite baseball player went out for pizza and bundt cakes. It was a chilly, rainy day--rare in Midland in May--and we savored a chance to just get to hang out with him. Not a worry in the world except for his poor buddy scheduled to pitch that night in 45 degree weather.
We had planned to go watch him Saturday when he was scheduled to pitch, but he came out of his room that morning still in a state of shock and excitement that he had been called up to Triple-A with a flight out in less than 24 hours.
And that's how fast it goes.
One day you're eating pizza talking about the weather. The next day you're cramming all you can into 1 suitcase and saying goodbye to everything you know right now.
Yesterday morning I had to work, but I went into the church about an hour late so I could say a proper goodbye. The kids and Cash took him to the airport and wished him well on this new phase of life. And there he went. That evening I turned on MiLB TV and saw him in the Las Vegas dugout giving a high five to a new teammate who had just hit a grand slam.
Last night I went into his room to turn off the air. I just stood there and caught a lump in my throat wondering how time really did pass so quickly. In June last year we had 24 hours to prepare this room before a stranger walked into our home. By this May I couldn't hold back tears as I turned off air and lights and whispered goodbye to the 5th member of our family.
I've spent the past day reflecting on motherhood. Naturally. What an odd turn for Mother's Day weekend. I thought a lot about his momma who must say goodbye every Spring. I thought about how she sent me a message in March when she finally had the strength to wash his sheets again knowing he wouldn't be there for so very long. How she had stood in a room just like this so proud of him yet missing him so deeply.
I thought about my mom. How she is always there in Ozark, Arkansas. I never doubt it. How I get to go "home" and it always feels like home. How it has been 15 years since she stood in the driveway and watched me head out to conquer the world. I knew nothing (and she knew that), but there I went ready to learn it all. And for 15 years I have driven back up the gravel driveway knowing that once I cross that cattle guard I will smell fall scented candles and know I'm home.
I thought about my husband's mom. How she watched her 2 boys get married and begin to make a life with a different woman. How she watches Henry and reminisces that it was just that long ago when that was Cash saying those same things and getting those same spankings.
And I thought about what it means to be a mom myself. How we put up a crib not even 4 years ago and it is already in the attic having cradled 2 babies in that short time. I thought about these moments of sitting on the back porch watching them hammer dirt and knowing this is the very time that is passing by. How it will feel like it has been 10 days when I walk into their rooms and turn the air and lights off. How we'll stand in the kitchen and give a hug and wonder who in the world will cook for them or buy ice cream for them or cheer them on as they go into the next phase of life. How we are now the comforts of home for someone; the ones who will always be right here when they long to come back one day.
I learned a lot about baseball this past year. Perhaps though I learned more about life. I heard him talk about pitch counts and a girlfriend and buddies and GoT. But I heard his momma talk about him. I saw in her that goodbye doesn't mean life is over. It is just starting again. She taught me to allow others to invest in your kids and be a part of their lives. She reminded me to celebrate people for whom they are without their jerseys more than for whom they are with them. She encouraged me to embrace this phase of motherhood and be there in the little moments of right now.
We gained much more than a 5th member of our family through minor league baseball. We gained perspective. On time. On motherhood. And on strikes. It depends on your view. From the batter's box a strike seems too fast or too inside or a missed opportunity. From the pitcher's mound it looks like a fist pump.
This year I learned to give time and motherhood a fist pump. Every day.