Spring has arrived.
You know what that means.
Softball, softball, softball!
I love it! The smell of the freshly smoothed dirt on the infield, the white chalk baselines and pitcher's circle, the sound of the bat hitting the ball (or just swinging through the air at the ball if I'm honest...it is tee ball and 8-yr-olds we're talking about here), and the sweet cheers and chants coming from the dugout.
And then, there are some other sounds I hear as a mother sitting in the stands with my other children.
"Can I have a ring pop?"
(I got her gum instead. Yes, so I could have some, too. What?)
"I have to go to the bathroom."
(which is clear on the other side of the park and is rather disgusting)
"I want a hot dog!"
and my favorite,
"How much longer? This is so boring."
You see, when you're a little kid, softball is not at all about the actual game. You really could just care less about things such as:
the numbers on the scoreboard,
the strategy involved in base running,
(no picture for this one because I was screaming for her to run and stop skipping to home plate)
or stopping the ball when it's hit to you. It's much more fun to chase it after it passes by
(again, no picture, for very similar reasons. RUN!!).
No, no, when you are a tee ball player, there are things that are much more interesting and captivating to you than the game. This is true whether you're on the team or the 3-yr-old little sister who gets dragged to the park several times a week.
These things include, but are not limited to,
the adorable little puppy some kid is holding in the stands next to you. You will chase her down throughout the whole park just for a chance to pet it.
The hair bows.
There's a sweet mother on my daughter's team who made these ribbons for each player. My 6-yr-old is all about it. In fact, I think she's under the impression that one cannot play tee ball without cute hair bows.
Of utmost importance as well are these:
individual storage bins for each girl to place her glove, visor, and water bottle in when she's not using them.
I mean, look at them! Your name written in pink and cute little designs drawn on it? I want one! (these were also made by the hair ribbon mom...she's pretty much making the rest of us look like bums...which I am perfectly willing to accept).
And then, of course, the best part about tee ball comes AFTER the game.
The girls can hardly wait to see what treats are in store for them after they've played. Yesterday it was animal crackers and Gatorade.
This leads me to discuss my rather unfortunate experience with providing the team snack last weekend.
Little sister and I were late to the game because we had to make a special trip to the grocery store for snacks. There was NO way I was going to be the schmuck mother who forgot treats for the expectant girls. It would be akin to falling asleep on Christmas Eve and forgetting to help Santa.
The absence of snacks would be a disappointment of epic proportions to the girls. I'd be THAT mother for the rest of the season. Six-year-olds would whisper when I walked by and my child would be eternally humiliated when it came up in conversation. "Remember that time?"
Anyway, we bought some crackers and gummy treats and juice boxes to share. I was kinda proud of myself, actually. Providing two choices for snacks is unusual.
So here I was, happily handing out snacks to the cute little tee ball players in pink uniforms and matching hair bows, when one of the coaches announces loudly,
"Hey, girls, great game! Who wants a snow cone?!"
You can imagine the response that one got. Suddenly I was like the shabby peasant mother in the dirty street holding out scraps to the children when this guy came out of nowhere in a white knight outfit and riding a white horse, a gleaming sword in his hand and a sparkle in his smile.
They pretty much left me and my ridiculous treats in the dust.
The other parents around me were just kinda quiet for a moment. They felt bad for me, I could tell. But at the same time, they were quite relieved that it hadn't been THEIR day for team snacks. They quietly filed off to where their daughters were being bought snow cones.
Even my 6-yr-old later told me privately, "Mom, I felt really sorry for you." But not sorry enough to hang around.
We buy the uniform, the glove, the bat, the helmet, the bat bag, and the team snacks.
But when it comes down to it, it's really pretty simple. All they need are color coordinating hair ribbons, cute bins, puppies in the stands, and most of all, snow cones.
If you need me, I'll be eating 13 packs of peanut butter crackers and drinking 13 juice boxes over there in the dugout. Alone.