Approximately three weeks ago in our state, All-Star tournaments started.
120 teams suited up and took the field in the hopes of going to the state finals and fighting for the chance to be called "State Champs".
Three of those teams are left now.
I thought that I knew a lot about parenting. I thought that I knew a lot about life. I thought that for the most part, I wanted time to stand still so that I could have my children be children always, even though I knew this wasn't possible.
I thought that over this past six months, I'd cried myself out. I thought I had nothing left in me, no matter how happy or sad.
I've been wrong before, but never so wrong.
Today was one of the happiest days of my life, watching Big A's team win.
Pieces of my heart are scattered across softball fields everywhere, and the same remains true not with just my sisters, but with so many members of my family. It felt like with each play made, they were returning bits of myself to me.
They must win each time game that they play now in order to march on. During the game that they lost, I was furiously chatting on my Blackberry with my sister A, detail by detail, including counts on batters. It was down to our teams last at-bats and they were down by two.
I was standing alongside the fence, moving back and forth, trying not to cry when I read this message from A:
The boys have on their rally caps. And then an image, right to my heart, from 500 miles away, I could see them. Then the next message: And we have our shoes on the wrong feet.
Because they can't get cell service in their house, those three sat in her car in the driveway for the entire game and wept with me at the end when Big A's team fell into the loser's bracket.
During the game tonight, 500 miles away, A and her children and my niece again assumed their positions around her phone. It was an inning by inning battle; again I paced and typed. They would score, their opponents would score. This continued inning after inning.
Finally, the last inning arrived with Big A's team up by 2. "We need 3 outs", I typed.
With two runners on and two outs on the scoreboard, I didn't think I would be able to take one more breath, then finally, the final out. Our girls advanced again.
"WE WON!" I sent to the faithful fans assembled around a phone so very far away.
"You should have heard me and the kids praying together in the car", A typed.
"I did." I replied.
And I did.
Somehow, across all those miles and somehow, through all of the dust and dirt and tears, there they were, right next to me, staring down a dream--a dream that we've each dreamed for ourselves, and a dream that belongs to each of us now as this magic summer continues.
Go, Girls, Go!