Being a grandparent

Winner Takes All

I love being outdoors. It’s been nearly a year since I retired and I’m finally able to spend more time in this burgeoning spring weather; it’s nearly summer heat at this point in Michigan. Yesterday was an overcast, humid, yet beautifully warm day, and it was baseball night for my 8-year-old grandson, Jonas. I drove 50 minutes across town to watch the game, as I do several times a week to see both of his team’s games, and those of his 6-year old brother, Stellan.

As I sat in my camp chair, comfortably dressed in jeans and a tee shirt, baseball hat perched on my head, I savored the moment. Summer and children and heat and time with my family. It doesn’t get better than this.

I felt young and alive — although I’m in my mid-sixties — as I cheered on the team with a fervor most would probably save for a major league game. As I watched Jonas on second base, poised at the ready, eyes transfixed on the batter, eagerly awaiting the chance to go for the ball, I remembered my own softball days of thirty years ago, the tension of wondering if I’d snag that ball as it was tossed to me on first base. I whooped and clapped as my grandson rounded the bases following hit after hit and recalled the feeling of exuberance, of success, and was thrilled for him to experience the achievement and enjoyment of the game.

When Stellan came over to cuddle on my lap while we watched his brother play, my heart was full. It’s lovely to have a little boy to cuddle again, now that his father is a man well past the cuddle stage. When the game was over, and we started to pack up to leave, Jonas left his post-game meeting with his coach and ran over to the fence, excited to talk about the game.

That’s when I felt my heart bursting. My grandson was excited to share his joy with his Boba, as he calls me. I watched his animated and sweaty face — so close to mine as he spoke to me through the chain link — as we discussed the game highlights: his hits, his pop-up catches, the plays that he enacted so adroitly as he and his teammates tagged out the opposing team members one by one. His team lost, but it was the pleasure of the game, the plays, the teamwork, that excited him. And he shared all that with me, words bursting forth, excitement and enthusiasm evident on his young face.

And as I watched him chatter about the game, I nodded in agreement, but all the while I was quietly aware of the beauty of the moment. I often find myself pausing now in my old age to cherish each second of these special, fleeting moments of joy as they come. To reflect upon how privileged I am to have these simple, valuable pleasures. That he chose to run across the baseball diamond to share his joy with his Boba… with me.

I’m aware of how privileged I am to be allowed to experience life with these two little boys who shine so brightly in my world. The team may have lost the ball game last night, but I was reminded, once again, that I’m a lucky winner in the game of life.