One of my nieces dated many men on her way to the altar. She stayed close with some, and one in particular, Ted, became a long term friend. At least until he died from cancer.
Ted left a twenty-something wife and a young son, Tommy, to figure out their lives without him. They all live in a relatively small town, and my niece has her own children, one of them a boy (Jonathan) the same age as Tommy. The two boys play on the same baseball team.
A few weeks ago, Jonathan, had been down in the dumps because he hadn’t had a hit “in years.” He dreaded having to bat. An aside: we are all Cubs fans,
so we know about slumps.
But back to my niece’s story. She was sitting in the car with Jonathan, who refused to get out and go to baseball practice, so she gave him a pep talk:
“You remember a couple of games ago when Tommy was up at bat? He hadn’t had a hit for so long, he didn’t even want to bat? And the bases were loaded and he had two strikes against him? You remember that?”
Jonathan shrugged his shoulders and nodded, refusing to look at anything but his cleats.
“I sure remember,” she said, “because I was talking to his dad. I closed my eyes and asked him to give his boy a little boost, because that’s what he needed right then. He needed to know that his dad was behind him, helping him out, even if he wasn’t where we could see or touch him. You remember, right? And then Tommy slammed that ball so hard, it sailed over the fence.
He just stood there and watched it go and started crying. Everyone, even the other team, the kids and coaches and parents watching, all started cheering for him. Everyone was crying. And then he ran the bases. You remember that?”
“And you know that Tommy would gladly go back to being in a slump, give back that grand slam, if he could have his dad back just to hang around with every day?”
“Yes,” said Jonathan.
“So I guess what I’m saying is that we all go through slumps, but it’s important to keep things in perspective. Your hero time may or may not ever come, but you’ve got a dad who’s with you to give you a hug when things don’t go the way you want them to.”
End of pep talk. Jonathan sighed and got out of the car.
So when I got a text message the other day with a picture of a smiling Jonathan in uniform with a caption saying “guess who just hit a home run?” I hope you’ll please excuse me for crying.
If this were a movie script, would you accuse me of writing a sentimental story? Happy Father’s Day!!