lots of hydrating and uniform washing.
Much of my heart and time has been consumed for the last two weeks and really, the last couple of months with the…
8/9 year old Little League baseball season.
I border line between “supreme encourager” baseball mom and a little TOO encouraging. a.k.a yelling and jumping in the stands. (Crazy baseball mom.) Hit it harder. GOOO. Run Faster! Catch that ball!! SLIDE REECE!!!
I don’t care. I am quickly enjoying my new role a supreme encourager/crazy sports mom. That's fine.
I still only have one sports shirt and don’t have any sports themed accessories or bows. (Please stop me in my tracks if I ever have sports equipment represented on my jewelry!!) I feel like I am still in control. After eavesdropping on me speaking a text to a friend about the upcoming games, Reece said “Mom it’s not intense for us, just you think it’s intense.” hmm. He speaks truth. He’s right. I do want each kid to do their very best, play hard, have fun, and obviously, winning is awesome. Funny thing is that while I have been watching and cheering, sometimes too loudly (“Mom never do that AGAIN” after one too specific of a cheer), I am discovering new things about myself that had I not been raising my children, I may never have found. (another post at another time.)
Over the last six and a half months of baseball, I have seen Reece man become the consummate encourager. His light began to shine so brightly. Leading the team chants and cheers from the dugout during their Championship regular season and throughout his All-Star tournament (insert proud baseball mom). His coaches learned to count on his enthusiasm and love for his friends. "Where's Reece?! We need some cheers!" Even his little sisters learned the chants. Miraculously through osmosis though, because in between running around the stands, scootering barefoot, sucking on the almost daily ring pops and other sugar filled snack that it takes for the parents to focus, (ha ha intense may be correct!) they rarely sat still long enough to cheer through one inning.
And my favorite (because it always leaves the stands, thinking hmm..)
At one point, during the season, I sat on the hard aluminum bench stands and looked at Reece and thought why does he constantly cheer?
Like ALL the time. Even from left field to the pitcher. The only kid on his team most of the time standing at the front of the dugout encouraging and cheering for his friends at bat. Why?!
Then one day, I heard myself. “Come on boys let’s do this!” “You’ve got this!” “Great pitch.” “Awesome job protecting the plate!” “Good snag Ian!”
Gasp. The same loud cheers were coming from my mouth all the time!
Encouragement is contagious, friends.
Our children watch and listen to us.
Our community and friends watch and listen.
I wonder… what are you saying?
Due to all that amazing encouragement at home, Reece made the All Star team. Obviously. And while they battled hard through 105 degree heat, they left the tournament in third place. Leaving one of the top 2 spots open to a rival, and the team with the boys that he started playing T-ball with five years ago. The boys that he doesn't get to see everyday anymore, but still calls his best buds.
So after being eliminated the night before, we decided to make their championship game a mother-son baseball date. Just me and my boy, going to cheer on his friends, and me supporting their moms. Cuz, well..#intensemomsunite
It was the bottom of the 6th and the end of the game. Bradley, was on the mound. The other team was in the midst of a hitting rallly and was coming back for the win. The energy all around was not in “our” favor. The fans and the players felt the stress and the pressure and reality of what was happening. The other team was scoring run after run- walks and hits abounded. All of a sudden, from where we stood in the outfield, the silence broke with a mighty cheer from Reece. From center field directed to the mound, " You've got this B! Let's do it! Come on Bradley!! You can do it!!"
The weary and silent adults, including myself, followed his lead. "You can do it B!!" We forgot to encourage. But Reece hadn’t. In their own way these boys are learning to stand in the gaps for their friends. They are ‘grabbing hands’ and saying "I've got you. You can do this hard thing. I will stand and encourage you wherever you are.”
When Bradley left the pitching mound feeling defeated, the other part of the best bud trio, J, was in the first in the dugout to grab/hug (whatever 9 year old boys do) and say "It’s ok bud it’s ok."
Don’t we all need that kind of reminder?
When the crowd seems against us. The cheering has gone silent and there’s still a long road ahead. Zero outs, bases loaded, and runs walking in.
In our marriages when it gets tough, we need that friend that whispers, “yes it’s hard. It’s not easy and it takes work but don’t give up. Text me if you need to chat.”
To those facing uphill health battles and diagnosis- You are strong and courageous. You can fight this battle in spite of your fears. We will pray for you daily and surround you with light and love and hope that on those hard scary days, you will be met with peace and people that were placed there on purpose.
In parenting, when you feel lonely and wonder why no one is texting or calling today, so you scroll once again to find some sort of connection, somewhere.
At work, when you have been busting your A** and no one cares or compliments you on all you do. And your pay still stinks.
We all need to have a Reece cheering for us all from outside the center field fence. “You can do this!!! You’ve got this!!’
(If you don’t have a Reece or anyone standing in your outfield, send me an email. Seriously. We’ve got you covered over here.)
Reece, Bradley, and Jeremiah. During this All-Star tournament, you each showed me at different times that you get it. We love and encourage each other through good times and bad. Just like baseball, life is not easy. When the pressure is on, don't forget how to encourage and stand together. It’s not always going to be easy to be the only kid cheering in the outfield while everyone else is silent. It’s going to require you to be brave. To speak up and shout the worth of those around you. And when the crowd slowly starts chanting “Let’s go *****, Let’s go!” with you, hold tightly to the feeling in your heart. The warm feeling that brings tears to your eyes. That’s the good stuff. Remember, good always triumphs over bad. Be brave and always, do good.
Friends, our life is made for so much more. Showing up for your people when they need it; offering laughs, hugs, or tears; coffee or margaritas in the outfield after a 10 day baseball tournament; or following through on that call or text that you have been meaning to send. We have the opportunity to live life in a way that the next generation takes notice and begins to live a life that says, together we are made stronger.
Reece Kennedy you made me so proud this week. My heart is bursting for the way you lived the By Your Side mission in the spirit and flesh. We support and encourage and spread hope. Because when you’re on the pitching mound of life and things are looking really dim, you want your buddies cheering for you from the dugout, the stands, outfield, FaceTime, or even via your mom’s group text.
You are the best By Your Side story I could ever ask for.
P.S.Thanks for letting me find new activities that bring me joy and happiness by watching you BE you.
Always by your side...