softball

I am proud of my children. {there, I said it.}

bella-shortstop

All one needs to do is look at my instagram feed to know that I am overly proud of my kids. The other day a friend said that we win as the most photographed family of all time. (proud of it)

As I look over on my feed showing on the right of this blog, 12 of the 20 pictures are of my kids. There is no shame on instagram. That’s probably why I love it so much. (In fact the photo in this post is originally from instagram.)

Even if you find this post a year from now, I can promise that the ratio of  my kid pics to my other pics will be about the same. I may have to quit instagramming all together when they move out, or stalk them like paparazzi. [I like the idea of getting a dark pair of sunglasses and an SUV and following them around the country.] Poor kids. They are going to need therapy.

I am a prideful person. Very prideful. Pride is my Achilles heel. I try to keep it in check, but with my kids it seems impossible. As a religious person I have sought answers as to whether or not I am going to go to hell for the way I feel about my kids.

These two quotes from two of my church leaders have been of infinite assistance.

In terms of your happiness, in terms of the matters that make you proud or sad, nothing—I repeat, nothing—will have so profound an effect on you as the way your children turn out. ~Gordon B. Hinckley

I believe there is a difference between being proud of certain things and being prideful. I am proud of many things. I am proud of my wife. I am proud of our children and grandchildren. ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I’ve concluded that if God meant for us to never have pride, he would have never given us children. Pride is a parental privilege. It’s an emotion I plan to keep for eternity.

Let me make this clear. My pride for my children is not wrapped up in what they accomplish. They can end up in jail and I will still be proud of them for they are mine and my love for them is infinite. I think every parent should feel this way. The children that I worry for most are the ones that don’t have a beaming parent watching their every move in utter satisfaction. What a great motivator it is for children to want to make their parents more proud than they are already.

Yesterday during Bella’s last softball game of the year I got to really indulge my pride. The best proud mom moments here are easily detected by the amount of tears shed. Yesterday was an all-time contender. You see, Bella caught her first fly ball. I watched her playing at shortstop with great anxiety. This is her first softball season and being the new girl she has mostly been confined to outfield. Playing shortstop was already a big accomplishment. She had missed her first grounder and so when the fly ball went soaring in her direction so did this mom’s anxiety. I wanted nothing more than her success. I was hyper-focused and I feel like some mom magic must have guided that ball right into her glove. Such keen focus is normally reserved for jedis but once in a while if a kid really needs help moms can tap into the force. (o.k. not really – it was all Bella)

She caught that ball. She CAUGHT the ball. She didn’t drop it. She stood there staring at the ball in her glove while her jaw dropped because of her good fortune. [She didn’t know I had jedi powers.] um I mean – She didn’t believe that all those softball practices would actually do her any good. But, they did. She had made the third out of the inning with two threatening runners on base. The smile that came across her face was priceless as was her attempt at covering it up.

I wanted to scream out for the whole world to hear. “She CAUGHT the ball. Ah huh, ah huh, that’s my girl”, but for Bella’s sake I kept my cool and my decibel range in check and said, “way to go Bella” as the tears streamed down my face profusely. I was so glad I was sitting on the front row of the bleachers. I have never been so happy for anyone in all my life. Truthfully. It’s a moment I will never forget as long as I live. My Bella got a moment to be proud of herself.

As her teammates congratulated her in the dugout, I knew that Bella, my daughter with floundering esteem would never be the same. After that fly ball she knew she could accomplish anything. She had her moment and I was there to share in it. I thanked God for the privilege and for the justification in my pride.

Oh yeah, they lost the game, but who cares, my baby had her moment! And so did her very very proud momma.

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Home Run Hitter

home

For whatever reason, this photo (credit unknown) was extremely poignant to me this morning. Maybe it’s because I love playing softball or maybe because I have so many great family memories at the ball-fields? Perhaps it’s because baseball is my favorite sport to watch.

I think it’s mostly because I have a clear understanding of what goes down at home-base. I have an intimate relationship with being in the bottom of 9th inning on third base with 2 outs and a batter up. Whatever happened I needed to get myself home.

Being in the same situation when I was the one up to bat was perhaps the most intensely anxiety ridden experience of my life-time. I remember vividly the day in 8th grade when I became the hero. I was the last batter (not necessarily the most skilled) who happened to be kind of an overweight nobody with not many friends.

Monica Sharpe was the opposing pitcher and nobody, I mean, NOBODY, could pitch as fast at that girl. (Not even professional baseball players) The game was tied. There were 2 outs. We had a player on 3rd and I was up. It was a full count. I was a nervous wreck. Monica (who later in high-school became a great friend of mine and a teammate) had already struck out many of our greatest batters multiple times. There was no way that insignificant outfielder Alice was going to succeed. In fact, the team’s disappointment at who was up to bat was pretty obvious.

But succeed I did. I nailed a line drive down the third base line. I got a slow start (out of shock) to first – I couldn’t believe I had even made contact with the ball. The opposing  third baseman got the ball and our runner headed home. The baseman did what she was trained to do and went for the easy out at first instead of the one at home.

And I BEAT the out by about .001 milliseconds. And our runner won the game. Actually I won the game. The team went crazy! The next 20 minutes of my life are a blur, but this is perhaps one of my most favorite memories. I had never felt so pleased with myself. I had never felt so validated, honored, or victorious.

This photo stood out to me this morning because of it’s metaphorical value to me and my desire to love being at home.

If I can imagine my home life as home-base maybe I can catch the vision of its importance. Maybe I can catch the vision of my importance. So what if I am not the runner? What if I am the scared little girl up to bat? And what if just making contact with the ball is good enough to win the game?

No what ifs. That is exactly what I am faced with every day. So today, my washing machine, dirty dishes, chauffeuring duties, and patience with one extremely trying toddler all have the name Monica Sharpe on them. And my goal is to just make contact with the ball. I can do that.

Thank you to Dieter F Uchtdorf for my other inspiration this morning that I just re-read from this inspiring address about living without regret.

Let us resolve to follow the Savior and work with diligence to become the person we were designed to become. Let us listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As we do so, Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves. He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents.

I never would have listed home-run hitter as a talent, but, yes, once in my lifetime I was a home-run hitter. “Get back. Get back. Get back and back and back.” [I just screamed that as loud as possible for Monica to hear from my dugout called home.] Screaming those team cheers was always one of my talents, and my kids will tell you the screaming is still on my strength list  – and it’s not unimagined.

Here’s to letting go of the screaming and turning on the home-run hitting. Keep you’re eye on the ball, mom.

*added the next day – one hour after publishing this, while on my run, I realized that in all my softball days, I have never hit a homerun, not once*