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Batter Up

August 15, 2012 7:51 pm
Written by: Sharon O'Donnell
As my middle son goes off to college this month, I find myself feeling very nostalgic about many things. In the dentist office the other day while there with my youngest son, I couldn't take my eyes off two little boys in the waiting room -- one about 7 and one about 4. They were brothers sitting side by side, and the older one played a video game while the younger one looked over his shoulder and would occasionally grin and shout, "Mom, we got the bad guy!"

The age difference between the two boys was about that of the gap between my two oldest sons, David and Billy, now 18 and 21, respectively. Those two boys reminded me so much of them at that age -- not in terms of physical looks but in the way they interacted with one another, the younger one clearly looking up to the older and leaning over looking at the excitement on screen while his brother waged war on the bad buys in the video game.

I remember so clearly that same look on David's face as he watched wide-eyed over his brother's shoulder. And my heart ached. I missed that little boy. I had no idea how that much time could possibly have gone by. As he goes to college now, I know I will miss my teenager and will relish the time I get to spend with him from now on. I know from experience with my oldest son that once they go to college, things are never quite the same again. There are still some wonderful times of course, but they are different.

I'm glad to have my 12-year-old still at home with my husband and me, but it will feel odd for him to be the only boy in the house. One of the most difficult things to come to grips with is that we will no longer watch David play baseball -- something we have been doing since he was 4, throughout Little League, AAU travel ball, middle school ball, summer Legion ball, and high school ball. Not only in the spring but in some of the summers and autumns too. He's hit home runs and gone through slumps, but no matter what -- playing baseball was a given every year. And suddenly, there are no more games.

That was the most difficult adjustment for his all when he graduated -- that the competitive baseball was over too. He could have probably gone to a Division 2 or smaller college to play, but he had his heart set on going to a Division 1 school where being able to play on the school baseball team was not an option. There will still be club baseball, which he might partake in, but playing for his school team was over -- at least for now. It felt strange indeed. When the final out was called for the year, the reality of it all hit players and parents alike, as tears filled many eyes.

As David prepares to go to college, he is taking his baseball bat bag with him so he can play with friends. I know he will miss the game. I know we will miss watching him play it. Our youngest son is on a baseball team this fall, and my husband and I are looking forward to that. Still, however, it is hard not to watch David play. He was a very good player -- above average and had a .400 + batting averages both years of Legion ball. His last two home runs came during his first summer on the Legion team two years ago - which was a few months before his anxiety flared almost out of control. That anxiety affected him, and his motivation to play baseball at the college level lessened as he struggled with dealing with his anxiety issues.

Sometimes I wonder what his last two years of high school ball would have been like if he had not had anxiety issues; he still played well and especially excelled in the team's two spring break tournaments each year, but his team played in the toughest conference in the state and it was hard to stand out with so many talented players in the area. I'm just so thankful that David feels good and is happy and that the anxiety has not affected him since the winter.

I'm so glad he's excited about going to UNC-Wilmington for his freshman year. I know that he will succeed in whatever he does and that there are so many opportunities waiting for him. I remember watching him stand at the plate and hit the ball out to left field for a double. I know he loved that feeling. But yet there are so many other successes he will have, other ways to hit a ball out of the park, figuratively. I know he will. Batter up.

As my middle son goes off to college this month, I find myself feeling very nostalgic about many things. In the dentist office the other day while there with my youngest son, I couldn't take my eyes off two little boys in the waiting room -- one about 7 and one about 4. They were brothers sitting side by side, and the older one played a video game while the younger one looked over his shoulder and would occasionally grin and shout, "Mom, we got the bad guy!"

The age difference between the two boys was about that of the gap between my two oldest sons, David and Billy, now 18 and 21, respectively. Those two boys reminded me so much of them at that age -- not in terms of physical looks but in the way they interacted with one another, the younger one clearly looking up to the older and leaning over looking at the excitement on screen while his brother waged war on the bad buys in the video game.

I remember so clearly that same look on David's face as he watched wide-eyed over his brother's shoulder. And my heart ached. I missed that little boy. I had no idea how that much time could possibly have gone by. As he goes to college now, I know I will miss my teenager and will relish the time I get to spend with him from now on. I know from experience with my oldest son that once they go to college, things are never quite the same again. There are still some wonderful times of course, but they are different.

I'm glad to have my 12-year-old still at home with my husband and me, but it will feel odd for him to be the only boy in the house. One of the most difficult things to come to grips with is that we will no longer watch David play baseball -- something we have been doing since he was 4, throughout Little League, AAU travel ball, middle school ball, summer Legion ball, and high school ball. Not only in the spring but in some of the summers and autumns too. He's hit home runs and gone through slumps, but no matter what -- playing baseball was a given every year. And suddenly, there are no more games.

That was the most difficult adjustment for his all when he graduated -- that the competitive baseball was over too. He could have probably gone to a Division 2 or smaller college to play, but he had his heart set on going to a Division 1 school where being able to play on the school baseball team was not an option. There will still be club baseball, which he might partake in, but playing for his school team was over -- at least for now. It felt strange indeed. When the final out was called for the year, the reality of it all hit players and parents alike, as tears filled many eyes.

As David prepares to go to college, he is taking his baseball bat bag with him so he can play with friends. I know he will miss the game. I know we will miss watching him play it. Our youngest son is on a baseball team this fall, and my husband and I are looking forward to that. Still, however, it is hard not to watch David play. He was a very good player -- above average and had a .400 + batting averages both years of Legion ball. His last two home runs came during his first summer on the Legion team two years ago - which was a few months before his anxiety flared almost out of control. That anxiety affected him, and his motivation to play baseball at the college level lessened as he struggled with dealing with his anxiety issues.

Sometimes I wonder what his last two years of high school ball would have been like if he had not had anxiety issues; he still played well and especially excelled in the team's two spring break tournaments each year, but his team played in the toughest conference in the state and it was hard to stand out with so many talented players in the area. I'm just so thankful that David feels good and is happy and that the anxiety has not affected him since the winter.

I'm so glad he's excited about going to UNC-Wilmington for his freshman year. I know that he will succeed in whatever he does and that there are so many opportunities waiting for him. I remember watching him stand at the plate and hit the ball out to left field for a double. I know he loved that feeling. But yet there are so many other successes he will have, other ways to hit a ball out of the park, figuratively. I know he will. Batter up.
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