Thursday, August 13, 2009
The Big Game
It was destined to be the highlight of Drew's weekend. Thomson Acres (a.k.a. Poppy and Granny's house), was the destination of our big family camping adventure. The kids were thrilled at the prospect -- sleeping in tents, roasting marshmallows, singing songs around the campfire, eating at picnic tables -- we were going the whole nine yards.
Or perhaps I should say the whole nine innings. For in addition to these camping must-haves, we planned an impressive assortment of physical activities: water balloon wars, tetherball, an obstacle course, a giant slip-n-slide, ladderball, horseshoes, ring toss, croquet . . . Oh -- and also a family baseball game.
It was the baseball game that gleamed resplendent on Drew's idyllic horizon. He'd been thinking about it all week. How perfect it would be! A huge field with the entire family shouting and cheering, sliding and stealing. He would help coach the younger siblings and cousins while tossing around cool baseball jargon and stats with the adults.
With his eye on the prize, Drew began to prepare for the big game the minute his tennis shoes hit the field that first day. His well-worn glove came off at mealtimes and perhaps while sleeping, but otherwise it was his constant companion. Cousins were recruited for numerous practice sessions. Siblings were drilled on speed and the recollection of various terms. It would be a game to remember.
By Saturday morning, Drew was ready to get the game going. The only problem was that the game hadn't actually been scheduled to occur at a specific time -- just "sometime." But Drew wanted the sometime to be now. So he determined to begin herding the little people.
Little people, as we all know, have short attention spans. As soon as Drew had convinced Aidan and Justis to warm up with some throws, Bethie and Olivia wandered off to practice the three-legged-race. While Drew patiently gathered in the stray girls, Aidan and Justis saw their opportunity to sneak in a little croquet. Meanwhile, the flower-gathering pixies, Avery and Braelynn, wove their way in and out of the ball's path, creating a significant (albeit charming) hazard.
Drew finally realized that he needed some help. Adult help. He appealed first to the womenfolk. Mom, Granny and Auntie Jo could get the ball rolling. They were sympathetic and enthusiastic, and they knew all about organizing little people. The first order of business, he learned, was simply to schedule a time and a day. He still held onto the hope that the time and day would be now, but he was open to other options.
Unfortunately for Drew, the men were already engrossed in an epic ladderball battle. So I took my son aside, putting my arm around the shoulder that had somehow sprouted up over the summer. "Drew, I know you're excited to play this game," I began. "So am I. But I think you'll have a lot more fun if you wait patiently for the right time to come. If you force it to happen now, not everyone will be ready to play, and it won't be the game you've been hoping for. Talk to Dad, and he'll help you figure out the best time."
Drew, as the oldest sibling and cousin on both sides of the family, is accustomed to waiting. And now, once again, I was asking him to temporarily set aside his plans. My son rose to the occasion. He understood that waiting would be better in the long run. "Okay, Mom," he said. "I'll ask Dad." And so he ran it by Jamie and the other adults, until it was determined that the game would take place Sunday afternoon, on Granny's birthday.
The sun peered out from behind the clouds just in time for the first batter to step up to the plate. Every family member was on that field. Poppy, the ump, dutifully kept the plate clean and called 'em like he saw 'em. The dads kept alive the brotherly tradition of impressing the crowd with endless home runs. The boys followed in their fathers' footsteps with some pretty impressive smacks of their own. The girls screamed and cheered and giggled (and sometimes fielded the ball). The moms cast aside their dainty facades and wielded the bat with surprising authority.
And Drew? Drew beamed. It was just as he had envisioned. In fact, it was even better. The whole family was there, and everyone was having a great time. He didn't have to coerce, beg or bribe. He could simply throw his heart into the game and play. He was a carefree kid, glowing in the realization of his highest aspiration for the weekend.
Like Drew, I am learning to wait. I struggle daily with the desire have my own, impatient way. I frantically try to pull details, schedules and goals together, glibly expecting my life to glide smoothly along on a placid, undisturbed sea. But my Father has asked me to be patient. Be still and know that I am God, He gently murmurs to my heart. When I take this first step and still my soul, I realize that His timing is perfect. And guess what? The game always turns out even better than I had envisioned.
Photo credit: Josie Lawson