Will's starts tomorrow and I think everyone, including his beloved teacher, is more than a little ready for a week of downtime and exhaling.
We have some plans to sneak out of town for a longish weekend -- taking a couple of days and heading to the family river house for some R&R and reading and napping and reading and napping and watching alligators and turtles and reading and napping and such. Downside: no internet access.
Pray for me. Going cold turkey for a 'net addict like me. Tough stuff.
The other thing I'm going to miss is our Saturday morning activities -- particularly Will's weekly baseball game. It has become a highlight of my week and a catalyst for joy in my soul.
Will plays in the Miracle League -- a baseball organization specifically designed for kids with special needs. His field is a customized cushioned surface, on which wheelchairs roll easily, walkers move with speed and purpose and orthotic-clad legs glide spiritedly. Friends and family serve as buddies, helping players to shag those fly balls and to get that bat swing just so.
This is the second full season in which we've participated. And Will is old enough now to really enjoy it. We seem to have gotten past the "no crying in baseball" rule (especially when one is at bat) but are still working on "no sitting in baseball" and "no dancing in baseball." (However, the dancing thing really is kinda fun, especially if one is playing right field...) He's working on throwing the ball with some direction (yay!) and is quite good at fielding them, with a little assistance (whoo-hoo!) We still get a little silly when we're at bat, but running the bases is a giggle-fest.
For two hours every week, Will has the opportunity to be just a kid. A regular, standard-issue kid. Doing what every other seven year old in the world is doing.
No therapy or doctors or medicines or issues. It's all about simply being in the sunshine, communing with America's National Pasttime.
It's the only time that I'm not watching him constantly or keeping him close by my side. He can wander around and hang out with friends all on his own -- everyone there knows the score and each and every helper and family member and friend watches out. It's safe. It's happy. It's love.
So much love. I get overwhelmed when I think about it. High-fives abound. Hugs are everywhere. Laughter fills the air.
My baby is, for just a little bit, a standard-issue, carefree, happy-go-lucky kiddo.
I'm actively participating alongside him this year as well -- my toiling with my trainer is paying off in spades and I'm out on the field running and jumping and playing. Whoda thunk it.
Saturday morning, the Rays and the Marlins will square off without their ace right fielder and erstwhile baseball dancer. But we'll be there in spirit. And they'll know it. Much like the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, led by the effusive Willie Stargell, we are indeed Family.
Ain't it grand.
Play ball, y'all!!