It was a nail-biter--a little league game full of walks and steals and shifting of the leading score. Did the outcome matter tremendously? Not really. While it was the last game of the regular season, it was unlikely to change the standings much, and even if it did, this was little league. And yet, I sat in the stands, feeling every run scored, every error that caused the opposing team to retake the lead, all as if the outcome would matter greatly to our lives.
It sounds ridiculous, I know. And yet, as I think about my state of mind
in the bleachers, I think about how a while back, baseball wouldn't
have mattered. How a while back, I might have been in the bleachers, but
not particularly engaged in the game. So, while the stakes here
probably did not warrant the biting of nails or a sinking feeling each
time the other team scored, I realized that it actually felt good to be
invested enough to care. While I might not have been following every play in
the game, I sat on the edge of my seat. It mattered to me what happened.
I had somehow, along the way, changed from a parent who was there
because I had to deliver my kid to a parent who was engaged in the
activity itself. Was I one of the screaming ones? No. I sat quietly,
biting my nails when necessarily, but watching intently this activity
that my son has come to love.
Keeping up with the activities of a family is not easy. It puts me on
the go most of the time. It takes me, literally and emotionally, all
over the map. I was reminded today, however, that keeping up is made a
whole lot better by truly investing, by being there, bitten nails and
all, not just dropping off and stepping back. And perhaps that's true
for all of life. Perhaps it is when we truly invest in our endeavors
that we feel a real connection to them.
My son's team won the nail biter, through no particular help of mine,
but with my eyes watching every minute. And while my nail-bitten hands
may never be quite the same, I am happy to see that my connection is new
and different too.