Friday, July 2, 2010

Catch 42

My son turned three just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play
Can you teach me to throw?", I said
"I got a lot to do", "but...that's okay"
As he walked towards me his smile never dimmed
And perhaps he thought, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him"

My apologies to Harry Chapin, but just the other day - Lukas' 3rd birthday - we were recovering in our living room from the Pirate party we had had earlier that afternoon. My parents were also here and we were all pretty exhausted. In fact my dad was starting to doze off on the couch.
Lukas, on the other hand, was up from his nap and looking for fun. After playing with a few of the toys he had received earlier in the day he got up and ran off to the foyer. When he returned he was holding a baseball and two gloves, one just his size.

"Baseball!" he exclaimed, holding the mitts over his head.
"Do you want to play catch Buddy?"
"Okay, in one minute. Stay here"
And with that, I walked to the foyer myself and returned with another adult sized glove. I tossed it to my old man, who had perked up upon hearing the interchange. A smile crept over his face at this. At this point, with new life breathed into us, we all made our way to the back yard for our very first three generational game of catch with a baseball.
Lukas was pretty excited, and seemed to be doing pretty well with his throws, but still needed some work with keeping the mit on and catching with it. However, what he lacked in polish, he more than made up for with enthusiasm and creativity in his goofy wind-ups while preparing to throw the ball.

In between the short throws and catches to Lukas, my dad and I were able to stretch things out to a longer distance and begin feel the zing of horsehide smacking leather. It was, after all, my dad who taught me to throw and catch a baseball. Probably at around the same age that Lukas is now. It felt really good. It always does when we can work in a game of catch.
"You do realize this is my Little League glove?" I said to my father, holding up my mitt as we exchanged tosses. "Really?" He replied. "Yeah, I won it that year for selling the most candy bars. I think you told all the vendors who stopped by the farm that they had to buy several bars or you wouldn't do business with them anymore". And at that we both laughed.
I've always had a great relationship with my father. He is an exceptional man who has always been there for me. He still is. And though we have good conversations on those occasions where we are not too busy going about our busy lives, some things most often go unsaid.

It's funny. As a grown man I can say three words 10 times a day to my 3 year old son, but still feel awkward about saying the same three words to my own father. That's where baseball comes in handy.

Because between a grown father and son, nothing says 'I love you' like a hardball tossed back and forth from 60 feet away. At least that's what I've found to be the case.
And as I hung up the glove it occurred to me
He's type of dad that I want to be
I'm going to be like him, yeah
You know I'm going to be like him


TempestBeauty said...

Wow, this made me cry. Like, really cry.

What a beautiful moment. Thank you for sharing.

Rich said...

Hey, this is an excellent entry and I like how you turned the Harry Chapin song around.


WeaselMomma said...

What a special moment. I'm glad you had it.

Portland Dad said...

It got a little dusty here as I read this, I don't want you to think it was your post, it was dust in the air, that's the story I'm going with. Excuse my while I go have a catch right now

Didactic Pirate said...

Damn that Harry Chapin. I gotta go call my dad real quick. 'Scuse me.

BellaDaddy said...

Absolutely beautful! Thanks for this!

Happy 4th!

Mrs. M said...

What a wonderful moment of bonding for the three of you! Great post!

Captain Dumbass said...

That was a fantastic post. Seriously, good work.

Anonymous said...

This is why people like us love baseball...but it isn't about baseball at all.

Anonymous said...

Wow dude. Good stuff. Makes me wanna go play catch with my dad... *sob*

Anonymous said...
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Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

OKay that was awesome. Put together so well and so touching.

Anonymous said...

I bought my son his first baseball glove as a gift for when we brought the baby home from the hospital. I have a hard time keeping it on his hand, but I can't wait for the day we toss the ball around.

Otter Thomas said...

I am way late here, but that was a beautiful post, and I don't throw that word around too often. I love baseball, and can't wait until I can play catch with Braden, and bringing in my Dad would be even better. Braden already hits off a tee and throws pretty well, but it will be a while before he gets the catching part.