Updated: Dec 4, 2022
Life is a game of baseball. There are homeruns; there are strikeouts. Sometimes, you accidentally throw the ball to the wrong team. Other times, you run the bases clockwise because, quite simply, that makes more sense. Right? And when life throws that unexpected curve ball - and you miss - you set your bat on your shoulder, turn your cap around, and saunter away from the plate with your head held high, satisfied that you put forth your best effort.
My son turned 9 in November and is in 3rd grade. He played Select baseball through the first half of this year, and then he felt the pressure of real tryouts and "favorites". Or, perhaps it was the perfect imprint of the baseball that was left on his forearm during one the games. Regardless, it was all too much for him, and he decided to take a break from the sport. At first, I was relieved because the practices and games took up so much of our time. But, he truly loved it, and he was really starting to find his way as a player. Alas - enter the game of tennis. Yes, he is playing tennis now. It's a great sport, too, and I've realized as long as my boy gets to run, play with a ball of any kind, and interact with other kids, he's happy. And don't tell him I told you, but I talked him into taking a hip-hop class this summer with his sister. It was a real treat for this mom to watch those two dance together - and, yeah, he was good at that, as well. In school, his favorite subject is science, and currently he has a strong disliking for math. We have a bit of work to do on essay writing with standardized testing this year, but I know he'll get there. Oh, and I am very proud to say, he finally loves to read...score! As for interests, I suspect he may be close to having enough Pokemón cards to actually fill an entire baseball field. He also loves anything that's electronic. But, isn't that their whole generation? Scarily, he keeps suggesting to me that college is not in his future because he is going to be a YouTube star. Fortunately, it's still early in the game, and I'm the one standing on the pitcher's mound and holding the ball.
My daughter 11 and in middle school. O..M..G! Either I'm old, or she's growing up - quickly. At the end of 5th grade, her team slid into the finals of the district Name that Book competition. They finished second. Be still, my beating heart! Honestly, this English teacher couldn't have done what those kids accomplished. I was impressed. They read books...lots of them. During the competition, the judge would offer a very brief description of a part of the book, and the group would have to identify the title. If they missed one word, they were out. It was intense, a true nail-biter. In April, her elementary Choir had the privilege to perform the National Anthem at a university baseball game. She also performed in a big dance recital in June. She participated in four numbers - ballet, jazz, contemporary, and tap. This semester, however, the transition to middle school, the homework load, and harder tests made her reconsider three of her dance classes. Taking two nights of four classes was challenging for her, and so she has chosen to remain in only her favorite for now - tap. She is doing wonderfully in school, though, with all A's so far and is also a member of the school Choir. Her interests include electronics, too. But, she's an Anime/Manga groupie. She reads books that are backwards. She watches subtitled cartoons. She draws characters. She sings in Japanese. I can't keep up. Certainly, this is where I'm running those bases the wrong way. Maybe I fell down a Rabbit Hole on first base...
As for me, I struck out in the dating world, and that's okay. I still get out and have a life outside of work and being Mom. I have a good friend who has been a great influence this year on ensuring I go out dancing, to concerts, to the rodeo, and I am thankful for her encouragement. I still teach 8th grade - all levels - Horizons, Honors, English Language Learners, Special Education, and On-level. I love my job! Truly. My students don't always know what to think of me when they show up to class, and I have on a Victorian dress and tell them it's 1875 <I had a couple actually double-check their phones - not a joke>, or am dressed as a nature photographer, alligator included. Yep, I am that teacher. I occasionally bring the stories to life because, in addition to the stories and writing, I also teach kids how to imagine. I am fortunate to have a great group of students this year. In October, I had foot surgery for the third time in six years. Same spot, different issue - a slight curve ball. My students knew I was leaving for a few days, and my 4th period class surprised me with a "Get Well Soon" card that they had all signed. Tears. Seriously. Homerun. It's those moments that remind me why I teach and that my job makes a difference. Teaching 8th grade is more challenging than high school in some ways, but the work load at home has been far less, which has been a blessing for my family. Speaking of ... for my own kids I would take on any team alone, steal bases, don a catcher's uniform, run a baseball field clockwise in front of a stadium full of people, strikeout 20 times, and then gently place the bat on my shoulder, tighten my ponytail, brush the dirt from my shirt, wipe the smeared mascara with the palm of my hand, smile, and proudly strut off any field just for them. They're smart, creative, and funny. They're good friends. They are amazing. They are my MVP's.
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