The boys on my son's baseball team range far and wide in everything from age, to height, to ability. Some of the boys have played t-ball prior to this, others haven't. For some, this is their second or third year in this league, others played t-ball last year and are working their way up the little league ladder.
There are several boys around Alex's height and build. One in particular, a kid I'll call Tall Boy II, is so similar to Alex that when then they're in uniform, and you see them from a distance, and you don't see the number on the backs of their jerseys, and they're wearing their caps, not helmets, and when the brim of the cap casts their little faces in shadow, and they both have relatively short hair...sometimes it's easy to mistake one for the other for a moment.
So there's the set up. And rather than draw this out into any sort of commentary on baseball or little league or anything else, I'll cut right to the chase.
Alex's team was at bat. Alex had been the last one to hit in the previous inning. Alex and Tall Boy II are usually one-after-the-other in the lineup.
During the other half of the inning, when the other team was at bat, I alternated between watching Alex play whatever position he had (I think he was at second that time), looking at the animal pictures Julia was drawing in her notebook, and grinding my teeth and pressing my hands together in an attempt to not become violent toward the parent of two children (one on Alex's team) who said parent has no control over and is too...SOMETHING...to get up and do anything about. The child ON the team clearly doesn't want to be there. The other child is allowed to wander around, tossing a baseball up in the air with no regard for the fact that it could fall on some unsuspecting other person's head, and the parent doesn't seem to GET this and lets said child wander around, throwing the ball - it went OVER the fence around the field one night - fortunately no one was near home plate at the time and therefore no one was hurt. This was apparently an amusing little moment for the parent, who watched all this from afar and made no move (not even the constant hollering of said child's name) to stop the child's behavior. Seriously, if you holler the child's name over and over and over and over and over and over, but don't do anything beyond that when the child ignores you completely, and then you look at the other parents around you on the bleachers with this "see what i have to put up with" expression on your face, do you really really really expect a lot of sympathetic expressions? I'm sorry, but I DON'T HAVE ONE FOR YOU.
There's so much more to tell THERE, but I feel my chest tightening and my blood pressure rising, so I'll end it there. Suffice to say, that person and that persons offspring are the only bad thing about going to these games or practices. Oh, and the other parent is no better, in case you were wondering.
Anyway, here we are at the beginning of our next at-bat. This tall kid heads out from the dugout to hit, and he looks in our direction, and I give him a big grin and an encouraging thumbs-up, and he sort of pauses and stares at me for a moment, and while all this is happening - over the course of 1.75 seconds - I'm also thinking "Why is Alex wearing some other kid's helmet?" and then slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwly the penny dropped and so did my big encouraging smile, as I realized that this was not Alex, who I carried for nine months and gave birth to with painful back labor, nursed for most of a year, and whom I gaze at with adoration and boundless love every single day of his life. No. It was Tall Boy II.
At this point, when I had tucked my motivational thumb away and was mentally kicking myself for not recognizing that this was not MY OWN CHILD, and being glad I hadn't yelled out anything like "HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK, ALEX!" (Which I wouldn't do anyway, because the park's too big and none of them hit it that far yet.) that Bill realized what I had done, and he turned to me and said "That's not Alex."
"I know." And he laughed.
"You were just going to act like you didn't do that, hoping I wouldn't notice."
"No! I just...didn't see any need to discuss it."
He laughed some more.
And so did I, just thinking about what was going through Tall Boy II's mind as he heads to the plate and sees some crazy lady grinning at him and nodding and giving him a thumb's up.
So that's my little story for you this morning.
Have a great day!