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Monday, September 10, 2007

The Perfectionist

My son Chris had his first baseball game
of the season yesterday.

Chris has been playing baseball since he
was five years old.
He has been through tee-ball,
and has played two years of
"Instructional League"
which is coach pitch.

He could have gone up for
"International League" last year
but we held him back.

The reason is this.
No matter how laid back,
happy and mellow
my middle child seems to be,
he truly is not.

You have to look closer.

See those ragged little fingernails
with the chewed on cuticles?

Do you hear the not-quite-nine-year-old
child rustling around after bedtime?

That's my son, Chris.
He is awake because at night, he worries.

Worries he isn't good enough at something.
Worries that he needs to do more.

Worries about worrying.

Watching him at his first game of the season,
the first game where there is kid pitch,
stealing of bases and required sliding,
my heart went out to him.

Sometimes it is hard to be a mommy
and be able to read your child's every expression
and their body language across a ball field.

First time at bat, he struck out.
This is not atypical for him.
He is a strong batter with a ferocious swing
but his anxiety gets the better of him the first time through.


In the field, he misses a pop fly
and then, in a panic, throws the ball to third.

Self flagellation.
I can see it and feel it all the way
across the diamond.

Second time at bat.
Strikes out again.

He comes to me,
"Mom, I am just not ready for Internationals.
I am not good enough."

I talk him down, hug him.
Help him to take this big, giant challenge
and make one goal for this one game
instead of being so overwhelmed
and freaked out.

His goal: pick your pitches.

Third time up at bat.
I feel like I could throw up.
Not for me but for him.

I literally crossed my fingers on both hands.

First pitch...

Second pitch...
he tips it.

Third and fourth pitch...

Fourth pitch...
he gets whacked solidly in the batting helmet.

He gets to walk.

I see his face as he heads for first,
a small grin playing across his lips.

He steals second (Yay! His first-ever steal!)
and gets to the other two bases to score his first run
in the International League.

He come running to me
smiling widely and pumping his fists in elation.

"I knew you could do it!"
I say as I hug him tightly

and as he runs back to the dugout
I utter a prayer of thanks.


Melissa said...

Yea for Chris! How nerve-wracking for you, Leeann. IKWYM about wanting to throw daughter tested for her next belt in taekwondo and I think I was more nervous than she was!

Splaneyo said...

Poor kid - I know the type. I had a bottle of TUMS in my third grade desk. I never really thought of it from the parenting point of view. Spencer is a bit like Chris, but would't bite his nails nails for fear of germs (he over thinks everything). Kids!

Lori - The Simple Life at Home said...

Oh, my heart was breaking just reading what you went through! Em is kind of like that - always afraid she's not good enough. I'm so glad that he ended up getting both a score and a steal! What a way to start off. Love the picture too!

Gina said...

Hurray! He hung in there and made it work thanks, in large part, to your skilled parenting Leeann. You know him well and knew how to help.

MOM said...

Leaves tears in my eyes for both you and Chris. I'm sooo glad he got to steal a base and then to get the first run for the international team...Yea for Chris....I'm so happy for him..Maybe you'd better take some tums for each You really do know him well and I can understand his plight too. Good blog babes!