I found myself in a new place the other day. Sitting in a lawn chair on the side of a baseball field while my son pretended to pitch the ball in his second t-ball game. And as I saw him focus on the ball as it tumbled down the field, I realized something.
For the first few years, those first, exhausted, seemingly endless years, it’s all about you and the world you create. Your little people are with you for everything, big and small. Every trip to the grocery store is a project; every trip to the bathroom is audience worthy. And you think that there’s nothing beyond this, that this will be parenthood forever.
And then one day, you look. You look at your child, who you have just driven and picked up from school and then, after helping him put on his long and clunky baseball socks, (he still needs your help), you have driven him to a baseball game where you sit and watch him play. You see that now you have become a spectator to his life. He is no longer an extension of you, a tiny little person who follows you everywhere. He has new influences, coaches, teachers, friends. He has his own agenda and his own goals.
There are pluses and minuses to this. On the plus side, life is more interesting. There are more activities and more people to meet. But on the other hand, there is less interaction with your child; the world is less about you and your child and more about just your child. I held my breath last week when the ball came toward my son. Would he run toward it? Would he throw it to the right person? I wasn’t standing there next to him to remind him what to do. He had to make this decision on his own. I was on the sidelines.
Life is changing. I can see the next part of parenthood clearly now. They go out into the world more and more…we sit and hope we are teaching them how to make the best decisions. And it’s more nerve wrecking than the first part. Why? Life is becoming more about him; his choices, his performances. I’m a spectator now. I’m not standing right next to him in case he falls.
It’s baseball season.
Yes, a new season is upon us.