I was an All-Star. No, really I was. Third grade t-ball. I was on Mr. Visel’s team and I was picked along with two other players to represent the yellow team. It was the eighties so as you can imagine things were really different. No such thing as equal opportunity. He picked the best three players and I was one of them.
I was also the only girl picked from all twelve teams. I remember hearing people talk about it, but as I am sure you can imagine, I believed I deserved to be there. Just like I deserved to play my position at second base…..but that’s not what happened. You see, Mr. Visel wasn’t the all star coach. It was some other guy and he put me in the game only for the last two innings….and no, he didn’t put me in where I was used to playing….he stuck me in at catcher.
I swear to you I remember turning around and rolling my eyes at my mom. One inning goes by, fairly uneventful. Mind you I got a double when I was up to bat. Then, the last inning of the game. We were leading the other all-star team by one and there was two outs. They had one person on base and the best hitter in Dexter came up to bat.
He immediately swings and hits the ball far into left field. The runner on second base quickly scores. As this, bigger and slower kid rounds second the coach on third looks me right in the eye and waves him home. I am screaming for the relay to get me the ball. The runner sees, its going to be close and he slides…….knowing he’s about to take the only girl on the field out. It’s a dusty mess, I felt dirt in my mouth and was pretty sure I had a bloody lip….
But, just as fast as you can imagine, I stood up and with the biggest smile on my face (as my late grandfather, told everyone he ever met) I showed the umpire that I was still holding that ball in my hand, making the runner out and our team the All-Star champions.
I believe that moment was one that to this day reminds me, when someone thinks they can knock me down, I’ve got a big smile that says otherwise. We headed off to the Dexter Dairy Queen where we stood in line forever and laughed and celebrated at every honking car that passed.
Tonight, we passed that same Dairy Queen with lines down the street of ball teams and their families. I looked it my rear-view mirror at Faith to see if she noticed the celebrations happening….
I try hard not to imagine life with a healthy Faith. A Faith born with a working digestive system. A Faith that doesn’t have to fight for healthy days. But sometimes, like today, when I see that, up in my face like that its impossible. I hate the things she has to go through, but I think even more I hate what she has to miss out on.
We drive home in silence, and Faith asks me if I have a headache….that’s often what I say when really its heartache I am feeling. There are no good words to tell her, I can’t say I am grieving the loss of you having a normal life, because, this life is her normal,
But I can’t stop myself from going there…..I was an athletic kid, and so was her dad. We live in a house consumed by sports….I imagine sometimes what it would be like if things were different. Sometimes when I hear people complaining about sports schedules I want to scream at them…..how lucky you are to be able to have this problem. I would love to see my daughter feel well enough to want to play a sport. I imagine her dad and my Dennis both giving her pointers on her swing….and me laughing at them and reminding them I was the all-star.
Its this imagining stuff that feels as if it could break your heart.
I worry that her brother chooses not to get involved for the same reasons. Because he, understands how it would feel to her to be the only one. He’s a special child. When I worry at times that I am not strong enough, I think of his strength as her big brother and I know for certain this is all part of gods best plan.
It still moves me to frozen….that’s what I call it. When I can’t talk, I can’t move, I can’t catch my breath.
I envy the moms talking on facebook about how they plan to keep their uniforms white….I read all these tips so I can use them, not on her uniform but on her favorite outfits that get stained from malfunctioning colostomy bags.
Tonight, while doing a treatment on her that is pretty painful I thought, funny, I thought I was so strong holding on to that ball when I got knocked over at home plate…..
She is strength. Not the fun kind….where you are held up by your boy teammates and get to celebrate at Dairy Queen….
The kind that leaves people in awe….and leaves them inspired…..
This isn’t the kind of All-Star I would have chosen for her….But make no mistake, she is for certain the Ultimate All-Star.