But this afternoon at the baseball field changed all of that.
Last spring, Josh played baseball for a Challenger League, which means it was all kids with special needs. Their needs varied... some in wheelchairs, some screaming uncontrollably... but a greater number of them with smiles than with not. Every week I would put on a smile and act like I was enjoying every moment...
Oh, don't get me wrong... I was quite fond of watching the kids and being outside and visiting with "fellow parents who get it"... but a large part of me wished that he was playing in our little community with kids that he goes to school with. A large part of me wished that Josh didn't need a 'buddy' going up to bat with him, running the bases with him, keeping him on task in the field. A large part of me wished we didn't need a special needs team.
The feelings I was having were strange. I knew they were there but I wasn't giving them attention out loud. I never discussed them with Jon or thought about it before or after the Sunday game. They didn't consume me, but they were responsible for me missing out.
I'm not sure what happened this year, or today... but it was very different. The kids and the needs and the parents were the same, but I was different.
I was able to take in the smiles for real. I was able to appreciate (and be amazed at) each part of the afternoon. The boy in a wheelchair who insisted on standing to bat and walking to 1st base... then second. The patience of the volunteer that walked him there. The proud mommy taking video of her little boy who ran from bat to second to first to outfield without as much of an inclination that it wasn't the way to go. The teen-aged (handsome and athletic) volunteer who made real friends with the boy he was 'assigned' to... real high fives, real hugs, real encouragement, real smiles, real friends.
Last year (and yesterday) my glass was half empty. Today, it overfloweth.
A few photos from last season...
Need a hand, friend?
Josh's friend Damien and his buddy... Abby.
One of many... stars!
Josh loves to catch (but his bad hip hates the position).
So what was my part of the day? Josh said "great game" no less than 50 times on the ride home!
He loves it. He loves every part. It doesn't matter that he's only up to bat twice. It doesn't matter that he only gets to run to 1st base every time or that he has a 'buddy' (this year it's Abby so he's thrilled!) running with him. It doesn't matter that they play the same team every week or that there is no score keeping. What matters is baseball... and smiles.
Perhaps the most amazing part of the afternoon tho was the realization that I had changed when I didn't even realize I needed to.
So thankful to the God who changes.