Thursday, May 20, 2010
Take me out to the ball game
For as long as I can remember I have loved baseball. Although there are many other sports that I enjoy watching or playing, baseball is by far my favorite. I love its rich American history; its competitive, yet non-violent, game play; and most of all, the feeling I get when I'm sitting in the stands, on a beautiful afternoon - hot dog in hand - cheering for...whomever. I really don't care usually - I love the sport more than any one particular team - I just cheer for which ever team Bill is rooting for.
Naturally, when Will was born I envisioned a future filled with T-Ball, little-league, high school games, and maybe even college. What can I say - I'm a Mom - we dream big for our kids. When Will was only a few weeks old one of my brothers bought him his first baseball mitt. It was precious and it sat on his dresser for years, waiting to be used; until one day it became too small and the realization that it was never going to be used became too big.
It may sound silly, but of all the things Autism has stolen from me, this is one of the saddest. I know it isn't sad for Will; he doesn't even know what he is missing...but I do. I know that sounds selfish. He is the one tormented by Autism - not me. He is the one that will have to struggle with it for the rest of his life - not me. He is the one who has had his childhood robbed away from him - not me. But I can't help it. I drive past a baseball field and I see all these parents watching their children play and I'm jealous. I wonder if they know how lucky they are.
In the scheme of things, I know it is just a game. Rational Katie knows that it is silly to be sad about something so trivial when there are life-altering problems to deal with, but still, when I drive past a diamond and see all those little squirts with their way-too-big-baseball caps, I can't help but feel a little jipped.
This winter I decided I wasn't going to completely give up on baseball. I was looking at pictures from the previous year and saw a bunch with my brothers playing catch in the back yard at a family cookout. I thought - Will could learn to do that. I put a baseball mitt on Will's birthday list in February and he got one. It has been sitting on his dresser waiting for summer. He may never play on a team like I envisioned, but I would love to be able to one day say: "Hey Will, go get your mitt, Mommy wants to play catch."