As a parent, there is nothing worse than seeing your child feel defeated. And as much as you want to scoop them up and make it all better, you can’t always do that. It’s just an unfortunate part of growing up. My heart nearly broke into a thousand tiny pieces when I had to experience this agonizing part of parenting last night at my son’s Little League baseball game.
It was his second time at bat after being tagged out before even reaching first base in the first inning, and I was doing my motherly duty of cheering him on from the sidelines. And after several missed swings, he finally made contact with the ball and got a decent hit. However, the first baseman grabbed the ball a little too quickly and once again, tagged him out. Dammit! His little head turned in my direction, and I could instantly see the disappointment on his face. He walked with his head down the whole way back to sit with his team and tried like hell not to cry. I knew I shouldn’t baby him, but seeing him THAT down in the dumps was more than I could take. So I quietly went over and whispered in his ear that I was very proud of him for trying his best. A lump formed in my throat when I saw his little lip quivering and his eyes getting red. Nevertheless, I forced myself to walk away, and I prayed that the next at-bat would be better for him.
Unfortunately, though, it only got worse from there. The next time he hit the ball fairly hard, but it went right into the hands of a VERY tall short stop (seriously, I’m wondering if this kid was actually in 4th grade — he was THAT freakin’ tall!) My heart literally sank into the pit of my stomach when the kid caught it, and I had to hold myself back from running onto the field and knocking it right out of his damn hands. I just knew how upset my son was going to be. And sure enough, he came back to sit on the bench with big tears welling up in his eyes. After seeing this, even my tough-love husband couldn’t resist going over and squeezing him tight. Sometimes, you just gotta say to hell with it and go with your gut, so we stood there in a big bear hug with our extremely bummed out little baseball player who kept saying over and over again, “I didn’t even get to first base.“ I wanted so badly to take away this feeling from him, but I couldn’t. So, I did what any mom would do in that situation — I bought him whatever kind of ice cream he wanted after the game.
As much as it killed us to see our boy so down on himself like that, we were at least thrilled to know that he’s finally found something about which he truly cares. Before this season of baseball, we were convinced that the only real interest he had was in video games. So, in an effort to support his baseball fever, my husband decided to finagle an extra ticket to the Cubs game tomorrow and take him out of school to have a father/son day at Wrigley Field. Seeing his sweet face light up at this news was the perfect ending to a really crummy night.
** HOW COME NOBODY EVER TOLD ME PARENTING WOULD BE THIS HARD???!!! **