My nephew, Patrick, plays shortstop for his high school baseball team, which is advancing through the state championship tournament. His team won its sectional final on Saturday and will play tonight for a chance to be one of four teams to play in the state finals.
Patrick, who's a junior, is wonderful to my mom. And, that's no small feat. My mom will call or text her children and grandchildren and then count the minutes until she receives a response. And, when you're a child or grandchild, you can hear the clock ticking. You feel the pressure to reply, you understand you've already let her down because your response will never be fast enough. And, then of course, she'll tell you: "What took you so long?" Her unspoken message is that we don't love her enough, we don't care enough. We feel the pressure to make her feel loved, knowing that whatever we do will not be enough. We are feel the underlying guilt which means we all tend to drag our feet.
But not Patrick. When my mom bought an iPhone two years ago, she immediately learned to send text messages to keep in touch with the grandkids. While all the grandchildren do their best to keep in touch, Patrick keeps the communication flowing effortlessly. He keeps her posted on his baseball games, school, you name it. And, he will include "love you, Grandma" on his texts.
My parents and I attended his game on Saturday, which was a nail-biter. In the bottom of the seventh (they only play seven innings), the opponent had bases loaded with one out. But the next batter hit into double play which meant Patrick's team captured a 2-1 win, with Patrick responsible for the go-ahead run with a single in the fourth inning.
At the game's end, Patrick and his teammates threw their mitts in the air, hooted, hollered, hugged and jumped. Parents left the stands to meet their kids on the field to take photos. My parents and I, still open-mouthed that they actually won, watched from the stands. Then, my dad said, "I think we should go onto the field, too."
So, down we went onto the field looking for Patrick and my brother. I weaved my way trying to find either to point out to my parents. Finally, we happened upon Patrick, with his back to us, hugging a teammate.
And, then he turned around and saw my mom.
"Grandmaaaaa!!" he shouted. He raced right over and gave her the biggest hug I've ever seen my mom receive. It truly was a beautiful moment. (A few minutes later, he gave my dad a hug, brushing aside my dad's extended hand for a handshake.)
My mom is still in seventh heaven.
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