My husband and I had a tough week recently, attending funerals for the mothers of two friends. At middle age, as our parents? generation is melting quickly away, we are becoming the memory bearers of our grandparents? and parents? lives. Funerals are wake-up calls to tell their stories and ours and record them for posterity.
I was reminded of this missive the day after the funerals. As assistant coach for a Pixie League softball team, I coach first base when our girls, the Cheetahs, are batting. Although Pixies is a teaching league for very young girls, there are some thrilling moments. Here?s one I?d like my grandkids to pass down to their children when they remember me:
A little girl in a bright orange shirt, helmet sliding over her eyes, digging into the red sand at home plate, waiving a pink bat above her shoulder, bouncing on her knees, scowling ferociously; pitcher-coach pointing two fingers at her eyes and back to his, mouthing, Watch me,? as he prepares to throw the ball; the Cheetahs in the dugout, chanting the batter?s name; her parents yelling encouragement while the other Cheetah parents cheer loudly; the blue-clad girls on the field popping gum, yelling, Hey batter batter?; blue coaches shouting, Play?s at first?; blue parents hollering defensive advice I hear each group distinctly, feel the breeze and the sun on my face. As my feet paw the sand, I watch the batter intently, watch the coach pitch the ball, hear the crack of the bat. And then the spell is broken, and I?m yelling, Run, Run,? as my batter flies around first base.
This golden moment this American ritual and my joyous experience of it this is what I would like my great-grandchildren to know. I?m not just a grandma; I?m a coach!