My husband travels a lot during the week and when he’s home, he often has to attend work functions in the evening. This has made my son and me become quite the independent team. We don’t mind doing most things just the two of us, but I admit, at times I wish that wasn’t the case. Sometimes, however, there are perks with being such a solo mom that surprise even me. Last week I was reminded of that when teaching my son how to play baseball. You see, I’m not a group sport kind of person. In fact, I quit softball in junior high school because the balls hit my legs too often—leaving bruises. So I guess I’m a bit of a princess whose only athletic endeavor growing up consisted of dance class. You can imagine how hilarious these baseball sessions were.
My son and I traveled back to the States last month visiting family and overseeing some renovation and minor repairs on our house. We found a baseball bat and ball in the side corner of our backyard. We rent out our house while living in London, so the last renters must have left it there. My son was enthralled demanding that I teach him. (There is no baseball in England, so he has zero experience.)
“Ohh no. You don’t want me to teach you,” I implore.
“You gotta! PLEAASEEE!” he screams. “Who else can do it?”
I realize that he had a point at that particular moment, so I shrug and figure he can make fun of me later when he realizes how pathetic I am at the game.
So, I tell him to stand with feet parallel, but with his body to the side, not facing the pitcher. (I’m thinking, how do I know that? And, is that even right??) But he’s listening to me with wide eyes and moving his feet stuffed inside beat-up Spider-man shoes this way and that.
“What do I do next?” my five-year-old asks.
“You hold your bat up.” I reply.
He then holds it up and straight out like he plans to fish.
“No, not like that, hold it up and behind you with your elbow tilted up just a little bit.”
The next few minutes involve a lot of positioning and I’m behind him trying to get the bat up correctly. I then show him how he needs to swing the bat level and across, straight at the ball.
Again, what’s so funny is that I’m not sure where this information is springing from. Is it from the Durham Bulls game we saw the weekend before with my brother? (The game I didn’t pay much attention to.) Or is it a flashback from the mean softball coach I had in junior high? I’m really not sure.
I pitch him balls like a sissy—but he manages to hit a few.
Another hilarious conversation ensues about the difference between a ball and a strike. He swings and misses and cries out “Ball!” and begins to run to first base. I then tell him he needs four balls to run to first base, but that was a strike. We go back and forth like this for twenty minutes or so until he becomes an expert at telling me which pitches are horrible.
Finally, I pitch him perfectly and he hits! Not only does he hit it, that ball is flying way over my head—all the way across the yard.
I’m screaming “WAY to GO Little Man!!” as I run for the ball.
I look behind me and he’s running around the bases in the reverse direction—starting with third base and going towards second.
I plop down in the yard laughing. He keeps running around and around the bases in the wrong direction screaming: “How many runs can I get? This is COOOL!”
“Just one,” I manage to say. “But tonight, I’ll let that rule slide.”
My husband then calls from London as our son is still running around and around tallying how many home runs he is racking up. I dig my cell phone out of my shorts. It’s midnight in London, so he must have just gotten back from an industry event.
“What are you doing?” he asks.
“Watching my son make his first home-run,” I say, not mentioning the base direction thing.
Our son runs over and grabs the phone.
“I’m killing mom at baseball!” he screams.
I try to stifle a laugh and hold my sides.
Photo courtesy of author