I was just starting to fear the end of little league. Next week's final game was looming, making me feel uneasy. My 12-year-old's last season was wrapping up, and I stuck imagining what life will be like without baseball. Beginning with t-ball, then farm, AA, AAA, and finally majors, life has provided a rhythm for a good chunk of our lives.
With baseball not being his first sport, he hasn't moved into the elite travel ball team status. He plays hard and is easy to coach. He shows up, listens, and performs well under pressure. I was beginning to wonder where he would go next. This doesn't feel like something the parent of a 12 year old should be worried about-a washed up ball player at his age?
Then, like an answer to my worries, Little League announces a new division-for 11-13 year-olds. A division designed for kids like my son, who want to bridge the gap between Little League and juniors. Something for the regular kids.
But instead of celebrating the obvious solution to my problem, I created a new one. What about when he's 13…14…15. And on and on I went, ruminating on things that are so far in the future anything could happen. And then I realized: t's not about his ability to play, or where will he go after this season.
The real issue is one I've felt about parenting all along: how to let go. When my kids began to walk, I missed crawling. When they stopped nursing, I mourned the end of infancy. When they finished preschool, it was the loss of innocence. Kindergarten ended and it was the conclusion of half days spent together. 6th grade completed the nurturing part of education, then it was on to high school - and even that is winding up soon.
What is wrong with me?
I don't walk around in mourning clothes like some Victorian widow. I tackle each new stage and hiccup that comes with parenting. I even celebrate milestones and honor fresh starts. So why the habitual nervousness and anxiety when we get to the finish, when it's time to move on?
I used to laugh when moms would tell me to enjoy every moment because it goes so fast. When my grandmother said it, I couldn't imagine being an 80-year-old woman mourning the loss of sleepovers and hot and sweaty baseball games. But just now, I think I kind of do.
Each completion brings me a step closer to my own mortality, to my own changes and progression forward. Each conclusion means that I need to re-find myself, to redefine who I am. I'm not only a wife or a mother or a teacher. I'm more than that.
I may just have another inning or two to figure it out.