I know he’s not on third … it’s the best I could do today. 🙂
Let’s see if I can make this make sense … I am not at all sure that I can.
I haven’t written in a long time. A couple weeks before Coop graduated was my last entry … and it’s been over a month since then. In part, I have found myself at a space in life where the story I am living is not mine to tell. Things happen in our lives that impact us greatly, but for which we do not own the copyright. That’s where I am. It makes it difficult to write, because what I want — need — to write about isn’t mine.
What I can write about is a train of thought that has taken several weeks to form. The idea, floating in my mind, my thoughts mulling it over like my fingers would a worry stone. I feel its edges and learn its curves. It makes sense in my mind, the translation may be lost. It is wrapped in the events of the past 6 weeks, both personal and public, and it has brought me clarity, if not always peace.
I was sitting at an open house and we were re-telling a game scenario for one of Aiden’s last baseball games. It included a double suicide squeeze and three outs with no scoring … all in one at bat. “There are 27 ways to score from 3rd base.” my friend said. The crux of the comment was that if you bunt, you narrow it down to one, not leaving space for hits, sac flies, over throws or wild pitches. I am in no way a baseball guru — just a momma who has spent over a decade watching, cheering, learning the game — and I would have never guessed there were that many opportunities to score from third. It got me thinking.
This morning I was in Cooper’s room watching him pack for an upcoming trip with one of his best buddies to go fishing up north, laying on his bed, watching him fold (well kind of) his clothes before he pounded them in his duffel bag. We were lightly discussing what all we have left to do before he leaves — a month from now. He needs to pick up his fridge and PS4 (because apparently that is essential to college success) and had started a cart in Amazon for us to go over. I smiled at his organization, his excitement. 27 ways to score from 3rd base. The thought kept crossing my mind.
I could hear rain and feel the humidity in the air — not from this morning — but from a different day, some 17 years ago. I was desperately pregnant with Jackson — the kind of pregnant that makes moving hurt and pre-occupies your mind with thoughts of impending labor and babies. Cooper was laying down to take his first nap in our new home (the home he will leave in a few weeks) on his new big boy bed. We had cut cost and forgone air conditioning when we built, so the window was cracked to the August heat with a hint of a breeze promising rain. The drops began gently, softly pattering the window, providing relief from the dryness of late summer. Cooper abandoned his new bed, choosing instead to crawl up on my lap – what was left of it – and snuggle in to rock and nurse in our rocking chair as we had every day of his young life. I sang him songs and wept as he fell asleep. It was one of those moments — the golden ones you reach for and grab every detail trying to imprint it into your mind. The way his little body molded to mine, how he giggled when his brother kicked him from inside my belly. How his little blue eyes fell so heavy, begging to sleep when his mind wouldn’t rest. 27 ways to score form 3rd base, I keep hearing these words.
In all the years and all the choices we made, there were so many ways in which he could have grown up, so many opportunities that could have been taken. I wasn’t always right. I wasn’t always wrong. There are things I wish I would have done differently and things I would never change. Looking back I see all those opportunities to score — in the midst of it, I’m not sure my vision was as clear. It’s a tough task to guide someone into who they are meant to be, while instilling in them the values and morals you hold as important while honoring their mind, their thoughts, their personhood. Life is unpredictable, maybe the answer lies in seeing opportunity, ways to score, instead of narrowing your focus to limited options.
Opportunity abounds. It abounds for learning, for listening, for seeing. It presents itself with ways to guide and to teach. Opportunity abounds for love and happiness, and it presents loss and despair. There are equal parts joy and sorrow and there are days where one outweighs the other. I am not a big believer in “everything happens for a reason” but I do believe there are lessons to be learned with each bend in the road. Hearing this phrase helped me to see that each bend is likely a fork, with hidden paths branching out from the stalk. There are 27 ways to score from third base, you just can’t always see them, sometimes they just happen on their own.
Hidden among the 27 ways to score from third base are a million ways life can go wrong. I wonder how many ways there are to strand a runner at third? As many as there are to score? More? Less? These past few weeks has taught me there are many ways to lose someone you love. It doesn’t have to be death. Or divorce. Their minds can leave, they can disappear, they can stop loving you and they can lose sight of their own opportunity. You can feel boxed in, and as if there is no way out. You can feel as if you have no choice and your options are nill. There are 27 ways to score from third base. These words have given me respite and peace in the past few weeks — reminding me that no matter how boxed in or stuck we feel, solutions are there. There are ways thru.
Sometimes those ways show themselves in the kindness of strangers, or the generosity of friends. Life preservers aren’t just for boats, they come to us in gifts left on door steps, in lyrics that ring true, in texts of humor and phone calls to support and overtures of love so big you can’t breathe. I’m not trying to be maudlin, or vague or be dramatic. I’m just at a place where life is tough, and in ways I can’t share. My tribe of five is okay, my momma always told me the more people you love, the more opportunity there is to be wounded, and she is right. But I will take that vulnerability and embrace and celebrate it. I wouldn’t trade the dark for a dimmer light, ever.
27 ways to score from third base.