The arena was crowded and noisy and I’m almost positive I was the oldest one there.
But, I didn’t care.
I had a mission.
My mission was to find one little boy wearing a red baseball cap almost bigger than himself who was clutching a ball glove also almost bigger than himself.
He was here to learn how to play T ball.
I was here to watch him.
For me, watching him was incredibly easy. In fact, I had a hard time taking my eyes off of him.
I’m sure the coaches must have been a little annoyed with me as I kept getting in their way as I snapped pictures and videos.
But, in true grandma fashion, I didn’t really care.
Less than an hour before I found myself in the crowded arena with all the young moms and dads and little kids, I felt old and mature. I was worried about adult stuff like the price of gas and what I was going to make for supper.
My mind was filled with serious thoughts about how much income tax I owed and how it wasn’t fair and how ridiculously high this month’s water bill was.
And then to make it worse, I looked in the mirror and noticed how well the aging process was working on my face.
I stared long and hard and it seemed my wrinkles were more obvious on one side than the other. I tried to avoid looking at that side.
Finally, I turned the bathroom light out, discovering that worked best of all.
But, overall I just felt sad.
But, then I got to the arena and there was this little guy wearing an oversized baseball cap who looked up at me and said, “there she is, there’s my grandma,” and, suddenly, none of that other stuff mattered.
Despite the wrinkles and the high cost of living, I felt young, rich and totally alive.
I had received the SOS call from my daughter earlier. She had a meeting, she needed a sitter and was I available.
I said I was.
The T ball practice lasted an hour, just long enough for me to fill up all the storage on my phone with videos and pictures.
When it was over the little guy in the red baseball cap bounced his way out of the arena, totally happy.
“Grandma, can you take off my jersey, I want to see my number and it’s on the back.”
And so I did.
No. 9, he was No. 9.
A lot of great ball players wear that number, I told him, seriously. In fact, his cousin, who is on her way to becoming a great ball player, herself, wears that number!
He seemed pleased.
And then, we drove home, him, clutching his ball glove and sitting in a pink car seat that once belonged to his cousin, who is now on her way to becoming a great ball player and is, in fact, taller than her grandma.
“I’m No. 9,” he told his two older brothers when he got in the house. “And I have two coaches.”
And then he tossed his ball glove in the closet, kicked off his runners and wrapped Molly the dog in a huge little boy hug, almost getting lost in her silky golden fur.
And, in that moment in time the fact that he was No. 9 and had two coaches didn’t really matter anymore.
What mattered was that he was home with his brothers and his beloved dog and his dad was going to finally let him eat the rest of the chocolate Easter bunny his mom had put at the very top of her pantry.
As for me, I was ready for a coffee and a chance to sit down with my son-in-law and do a little post game debriefing.
We had a lot to discuss about player No. 9!