Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Letter to My Two Children About Baseball

Dear Jillian and David,

I'm sure you've noticed something about your mother. Being nearly 3 and 1 year old children respectively, I'm not sure if you are aware, but I'm certain you've noticed. I don't have much to give you.

You see, your father and I got married while we were still in college. This caused us to live off student loans. Then, we got into some major credit card debt. We struggle to make ends meet, and we are living paycheck to paycheck.

Your mother has a short temper. Sure, we can blame it on the Irish roots, but deep down she just doesn't have a lot of patience on a daily basis.

We live in an area where the labels on clothes, and the probability that a party will end up on Pinterest or not, seems to take precedence over a child's happiness.

We spend most of our time at church. In fact, we are almost there as much as the pastor is. We don't have much free time to do things as a family, especially just hanging out together.

We don't live super close to any relatives. Even the ones that a pretty close by have their own stuff so we don't see them very often.

There are days where I feel like a fool. How could I possibly have thought I could be a good mother? We don't have the finances to do whatever we want. You don't get lots of time from us. You certainly don't get the kind of individual attention that I feel that you deserve. How are you going to grow up without any emotional scars thanks to my temper? And for your father and I to consider ever having more children? What are we, nuts?!

Then there are days like today.

And no, we didn't have the "perfect day" or anything like that.

Today is Game 1 of the World Series 2014.

Let's talk baseball for a moment.

You see, when I was little, I grew up in a home that was loyal to the Kansas City Royals. Why the Royals? Well, my father was born in KC, and your uncle and I were both born an hour north. Being a Royals fan as been a part of our family since your Gee-Chaz was a kid.

The last time the Royals went to postseason, let alone the World Series, was the fall of 1985. To put that into perspective, your Jemma was just in her 2nd trimester with me. I existed, but not out in the world.

For whatever reason, (and there are several my dear ones), we had a long spell of not being very good. During those 29 years in between postseason appearances, we didn't even have a winning season half of the time. Yes, being a Royals fan was hard. Even if we won, we never got mentions or any kind of respect from the sports channels.

With the Royals not doing very well, I started to resent sports. My dad and brother would be in their own world watching and talking sports. I hardly saw them during certain periods in the year, and I became quite bitter. I mean, the least they could do was cheer for a good team so they wouldn't be so sour when the TV was turned off.

When our family moved from Arkansas to Oklahoma in 1997, a few big things changed as well. One of those things was your Uncle Mikey. He literally stopped speaking. It took years to get more than a grunt, then single word out of him. He has come a long way since, and you should always listen when he speaks. {It's usually something worth hearing :)}

During those years, the only thing that kept our connection as a family was baseball. It was only my dad and brother for awhile, then my mom joined in. By my junior year of high school, (Uncle Mikey's freshman year of college), I realized that I can share in this connection if I accepted that spending time with my dad during a game was more fun than pouting on my own. It doesn't hurt that the Royals had a winning season for once!

When I first met your father, we started to talk about things we were interested in. One of the things we discussed was sports. Once I found our your dad liked baseball, I asked who his team was. When his reply was "The Royals," I knew this would be a good guy.

You see, I had decided long ago that a Royals fan would be a great guy to date. They would possess certain qualities that I admire: perseverance, determination, acceptance of disappointments, and down-to-earth. Yes sir, that would be a good guy to be with.

Thanks to the fact that many of my relatives still live in Kansas City, we went to a handful of home games while we dated. Since we've been married, we have attended 1 home game every single summer. In 2008, your Gee-Chaz and Jemma moved far away, then your Uncle Mikey moved far away in 2012, but we still had the Royals to talk about. We can even manage to get to a game and spend quality time with one another every so often.

Prior to this year, I could count on one hand the number of times that the Royals won while we were at the game. Your dad and I even changed the lyrics to a well-known song for giggles. "If they don't win, it's the same!" or "If they don't win..... meh."

So baseball is almost a family legacy for you. It is something that has always been a part of my life, and it's the one thing that kept my family together.

The year 2014 started off ok. Then I was diagnosed with post-partum depression. Then your daddy injured his knee and required surgery. Then your Gee-Chaz and Jemma had to move, (and still far away). Then we found out our financial situation needed to change before we got into some major trouble. I won't lie, 2014 has been pretty rough on us.

The baseball season started off in typical Royals fashion. We were hopeful, but tried to not get our hopes up. Then we were in first place in our division for a month. We figured that was the highlight of the season.

Suddenly, the Royals stayed in the running, and ended up in the wild-card game. I will admit that I prayed for most of those innings. It was the only shot we had to play in the month of October. I just wanted them to win so badly. Then we won the wild-card! There was no way this was happening! We would be playing in the postseason, and the family was estatic!!

Your Uncle Mikey bought tickets to Game 3 of the ALDS in Kansas City. Despite other plans, your dad and I made it work so that we could meet up with your Uncle Mikey, Jemma and Gee-Chaz. Not only did we see a heck of a game, but our boys won! Sweeping the A's, they would move on to the ALCS. After sweeping the Orioles, we are now in the World Series.

After every game, your Gee-Chaz and Uncle Mikey and I will text one another. It's been so much fun to stay in contact with them to cheer on our Royals.

Being a Royals fan is finally paying off. We are finally seeing them receive the respect and honor they so much deserve. And best of all, it has kept our family connect and full of hope. I love that God can use something like sports to keep families connected. He is an amazing God :)

All this to say, sweet babies, is that I can't give you much. We don't have tons of money, we don't travel the world, and sometimes mama isn't even that patient with you.

What I can give you is the legacy I was lucky enough to have.

You will always have your needs met. Your wants are another story.

You will always have my love. Nothing will ever change that. Nothing.

You will always have my support.

You will always have a church family that will do anything for you.

You will always see your parents striving to do God's work to His glory.

You will always see a spirit of hope, hard work, and dedication for as long as we are Royals fans.

You will always be a Royals fan. No use trying to resist. It's in your blood. ;)

I love you both with all my heart. I know I won't do this parenting thing perfectly, and I'm sure I'll be the reason for all your issues for many years. I pray that one day you will see that I was trying my best, and gave you all of myself. I also hope that one day we can cheer on the Royals as a family. Even if it takes another 30 years, I know one of the connections we will have is the Kansas City Royals.

Go Royals! #TakeTheCrown


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