This past spring marked Cash's first foray into organized sports. He was officially old enough to play T-ball this year and let me tell you, he was all over it. His sister Gracie also played T-ball for the first time this year, too, but she was more into the fact that they got to wear purple zebra socks and ribbons in their hair while calling themselves the Purple Sparkle team.
Cash's group never did name themselves, which really bothered Gracie.
Anyway, while my girl was busy making sure she had all her matching accessories in place to play ball, my boy was intense about putting on his game face, to the point of constantly wanting to practice catching grounders in the front yard, and, of course, working on perfecting his "slide" into home base.
It was a study in contrasts, I tell you, between the boy and the girl.
Gracie decided after the first two games that this would be the first and the last season she would play T-ball. Funnily enough, she's pretty good. Her long legs send her flying around those bases, and she's a strong hitter, too, for someone who's not that interested in the sport.
Her brother, on the other hand, is already planning his professional career. He was one of the smallest on his team this year of 4-6 year olds, but he had one of the biggest hearts. In fact, if I let him, he would wear his T-ball shirt every day of the week. He took everything about the game very seriously, and tried to coach Gracie on how to be ready for the ball....only to find that she really wasn't too concerned about the ball as long as it didn't affect the position of her purple visor on top of her head.
One thing they could agree on together were the free popsicles for ballplayers at the concession stand after the game.
But last night solidified the significance of what T-ball meant for Cash this year. We missed the trophy presentation a few weeks ago, and so his coach dropped off his trophy and team pictures last night while the kids were taking a bath. When I told Cash that he had a pictures waiting for him on the dining room table after he got dried off, I never dreamed that the trophy - this little acrylic thing with cool lettering, and it's not even pretend gold like the trophies of my day - would be the thing that sent Cash over the edge into sports blissdom.
Oh my word. He carried that thing around for the rest of the evening. While I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, I heard Cash outside the door asking his daddy, "Where's Mom?" Then he came in the bathroom, let out a contented sigh, and looked up at me with this silly grin on his face while holding up his trophy for me to see again. I asked him, "Are you proud of your trophy, bud?" He just giggled and looked at it in his hand and said "Yeah," while turning and walking out the door.
Be still my heart. This is life.
My husband then informed me that while I was in the shower, Cash crawled up on the bed with him and spread out all his T-ball pictures so that Jason could scrutinize each one, even though they were ALL the same pose.
I guess it further stands to reason that after watching Gracie get to be in some organized activities over the past year while Cash still had to wait a while, this first season of T-ball marked the beginning of his official passage from toddlerhood into boyhood.....and into having something of his own to be involved in.
In fact, I heard him tell Gracie this over a glass of milk before bed: "Gracie - I have my trophy, but you don't have yours yet....when do you think you'll get yours?" The boy has something that his older school-age sister did not get before him.
To which she replied nonchalantly while reading a Berenstain Bears book, "Oh, I'll get it sometime." She didn't even look up.
Needless to say, Cash took the trophy to bed with him and positioned it to face him on the nightstand.
There will be many more team trophies and certificates and the like over the coming years, but this trophy...with it's acrylic base and not-even-pretend goldness...will be among the keepsakes I will treasure long after they've moved out and started their own families. I'll place it in my box of memorabilia right next to Gracie's "purple sparkle" zebra socks to remind me of my children's first year of T-ball ....and the differences between this boy and girl born only fifteen months apart.
Be still my heart. This is the life.