I spend most of my afternoons in the car, picking kids up and dropping them off all over town. If Uber wanted to create a better system for finding experienced drivers, they should just hire empty nester moms who are well-used to being summoned by text because “practice is done. plz come get me”, or “sam needs a ride, too. can we drop him @ home?”
IT IS MY JOY TO SERVE YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS WITH MY AUTOMOBILE, YOUNG PEOPLE. In fact, please leave all your trash and miscellaneous items in my car so I can clean it all out later. Your dirty baseball socks give me life.
When I got my license at 16, driving seemed to bring me massive freedom. At 43, it feels more like being in locked in a box while hormonal creatures with developing brains tell me whether or not I can take a potty break at the only Starbucks between the little league fields and the high school. #plzletmepeekids
But yesterday, after I made my rounds between schools and the dance studio and squeezed in my second trip to the baseball fields, there was a break in the taxi schedule and I got to exit the car and sit in the bleachers and actually watch a few innings of one of my sons’ games.
We are in the sweetest weather season in Austin right now, so the air was a little cool and breezy at the ballfields. Our hellish heat hasn’t risen up yet to remind us that the settlers who stopped here in Texas all those years ago were delirious with the pioneering spirit. Last night was lovely to behold, the sunset was a shock of pink and orange behind the 8U field. I could hear the crickets and frogs down in the creek that runs through the property, and that magical feeling that only comes from sitting at a ballfield on a spring night greeted me like an old friend.
Then I suddenly realized that this will be our last baseball season at these particular fields. This little ballpark has been a part of our lives for eight years now. We have cheered for all three of our boys on every field of this complex. I’ve bitten my nails to pieces while they pitched, shouted at them “Run, baby!!!” thousands of times, and groaned when they’ve made errors. I’ve done cartwheels with my daughter on the empty fields when late night games got boring for her. I could probably retire on the money I’ve spent on Gatorades and Double Bubble at the snack shack over the years.
We have lived on these fields for a really long time.
I can’t believe we’re at the end of it.
Isn’t that the way it is, though? I can never believe that any season will ever really be over. When my kids were babies, it seemed like they would never, ever, ever sleep all night long. Now I can’t remember the last time they woke me up in the middle of the night. Then I thought they’d never learn to get themselves ready in the morning, and yet they’ve mastered that, as well as a long list of other skills and talents they will need when they LEAVE ME SOMEDAY FOREVER JUST LIKE THEY ARE ABANDONING THESE BASEBALL FIELDS.
The thing is, I think the trauma of giving birth confused me. Given that my children could not have survived without the care I gave them early on, I wrongly assumed they would always be around, asking me for juice boxes or another twenty dollar bill.
But next year, my oldest will be driving, and he’ll think he’s finally been set free, just as I did when I was sixteen. He’ll be super helpful and so fun to hang out with and we will savor the three years we have before he blazes his own trail. But someday, he’ll be 43 years old and little people will boss him around with their schedules.
I know now this is the circle of life. And it fascinates me that all of us feel like we’re experiencing it all for the very first time.
I sat at that baseball field last night and savored the sweet smell of fresh cut grass as I counted out how many years it will be before my grandchildren can play baseball, or soccer, or join the theater club at school. Then I tried to think of how many trips to Europe, Asia, and South America Morgan and I will be able to take between now and then. Because once there are grandbabies to hold, I’m not going to miss one single game or dance recital or school play.
In fact, I’m going to show up with a big bag of bubble gum to pass out and yell, “Run, baby!!” because it just comes so naturally to me.
Then after our glorious grandchildren prove our genes have served them well by making them awesome, Morgan and i will drive home and tell each other all the stories we already know, about first home runs, epic wins and losses, and all the times we sat in the stands and enjoyed the view of the kids we love best in the whole world finding their place in the world one swing at a time.
Gosh, I love being a mom. Tomorrow morning, when I’m in my car for an hour taking them where they need to go, I’ll try to just be glad that they haven’t really gone yet.
We still have a lot of perfect nights and days ahead of us.