I woke up today with a sore hamstring (that word always makes me shudder a bit), but a full and happy heart. My brother organized a softball game yesterday in honor of our dad's recent 86th birthday; not too long ago, our dad had told him that some of the purest moments in his life had been when he played softball as a kid. The rest of the world melted away, he said; all he had to focus on was the game, the moment. My brother wanted to help him recapture that feeling. That was the true gift of yesterday (along with the sunshine and the wonderful food)--being in the game, in the moment, playing with family. How often do we get to really play with people we love? It was intergenerational mirth, from my two year old nephew running around with a foam bat, to my dad cracking line drives all the way across the field (with the bat he used in Wrigley Field, his name embossed into the wood.) He wasn't sure he still had it in him at 86; it was a thrill to watch him discover that it is still there.
My dad went to Cubs Fantasy Camp when he was 65. He has been a lifelong Cubs fan, so it truly was a dream come true to play with Ernie Banks and other Cubs luminaries at their spring training camp. And to later have the chance to play a reunion game in Wrigley Field itself--and hit a powerhouse single there--was an overwhelming experience for him (and the rest of the family; I screamed my lungs out in the stands). I was glad that we remembered we had a bag full of his bats, his jerseys, his signed baseballs from the camp, at home; it was great to watch his expression when we unveiled them. He slipped on the home team jersey (with number 14, Ernie Banks' number) before we started to play.
I was 16, and just starting to go out with boys, when my dad went to Cubs Fantasy Camp. I thought of that yesterday as I ran around with my kids, who are getting so big (especially my son, who is 15, and starting to date now, too.) The passage of time boggles my mind. It reminds me that we need to take time to play with the people we love, really play, while we have the chance. I'm so glad we had the chance to do just that yesterday; I hope we'll do it again soon.