I think I remain stubbornly convinced that we are, somehow, or will be, somehow, living the sort of life that is found primarily in the pages of, say, a J. Crew catalog. That handsome dogs will romp up to us as we pull sculls up on the banks of ponds, dressed with what Fitzgerald might have called enviable casualness.
It is this illusion that leads me to participate in things like “tball on the green”. We do live in a picturesque town in a picturesque state. Said green includes a white clapboard church, and is in fact, green. So far, so good.
Here is what tball/baseball on the green will look like for other people: happy rosy cheeked boys will hug one another after making a catch. Their fathers, and in some cases mothers, will offer encouragement and sort them into small, insular teams who will take turns batting and rotating to different positions. Golden blonde toddlers wandering over to examine the pitching machine will be removed amid laughter. Older toddlers and preschoolers will hit a ball off the tee to other small children, anxiously fielding, and will run, somewhat erratically, the bases.
This is what it will look like for me and mine. All of the other children are tossing the ball with a parent. I have brought balls and gloves. Lily wants Sam’s glove. Sam wants Sam’s glove. Wyatt wants the ball. Lily clings to my leg, sobbing. Wyatt is on my hip. lunging after the ball. I throw it to Sam. He misses, picks it up, throws it back, suggesting I might want to throw overhand. I miss. I have to lean over, with Wyatt, to pick the ball up. Lily’s sob’s and grip on my ankle gain in strength. I throw the ball overhand at Sam and narrowly miss his head. He looks hurt.
Oh, now we are separating into groups. Sam wants to go where the pitching machine is. We don’t know any of these families well. These kids, already trained to some extent, trot obediently to the various bases. Sam doesn’t know where third base is, or if he does, he doesn’t remember. I try to help, to encourage him. It’s clear that the kids who’s maprents are out there will get organized into positions, will get to bat, will get to play. Lily is sobbing. Wyatt is writhing. I wave to Sam, wish him luck. He stands forlornly next to the kid who is playing third base.
Lily wants to hit the ball off the tee. All the toddlers want to hit the ball off the tee. A father hands her a blue bat, tells her it’s “pretty”. I hand her a more appropriately sized bat and tell the idiot that she doesn’t care if the bat is pretty, she just wants to slug the hell out of the ball. I do not add that what she would really like is to slug the hell out of Wyatt, and the other toddlers in front of her on line.
I put Wy down to help her. She wants me to run the bases with her. A stranger has removed him from the danger zone of tossed bats. He looks happy. I run basese. She wants to do it over and over again. Wyatt wants to put the ball n the tee. Sam is now standing near the kid playing outfield. He looks like he has no idea what’s going on. He looks sad. Lily will howl and scream if I don’t run the bases again. Wyatt will howl and scream if I take him away from the tee. Sam should be howling and screaming; it’s the only way he’ll get a turn at bat.
Other people are chatting. Other people are helping their kids have a good time. Other people are drinking wine and beer. Lily is crying. Wyatt is crying. Sam is sadly throwing the ball against the backstop. There is a reason they do not put people like us in those catalogs. It’s not a lifestyle anyone wants to buy.