During the four-plus very long (painfully long) months of baseball season, I jump out of bed each morning and start my day with a wee moment of silence in which I pray for three very simple things: fields with running water (not porta-johns), no extra innings and the presence of mind to facilitate the logistics of getting the right kid to the right field at the right time, regardless if we have to be at four games at once.
This past season my prayers were answered many times over. The monsoon season we experienced meant lots of cancellations, therefore no traveling to other fields, no extra innings because of all the cancellations, and (best of all) I managed to orchestrate a near-perfect delivery of landing my kids at the right field, right time—just a few mix ups with the right day.
Hard as I tried to persuade (okay, bribe) them to try a new spring sport (such as joining a bowling league that meets every other Saturday for an hour), they wouldn’t hear of it because after all these five sons of mine want to follow in their father, grandfather and forefathers’ footsteps in playing lifelong baseball. Ok, they’ve got me there, and several of them do happen to be exceptional athletes. As for the other two—well, they could tell you anything you ever wanted to know about the different kinds of crabgrass in left field, and if you’ve ever seen our yard, believe me, that’s just as important as throwing a no hitter.
Now that all-star season has just ended, my apologies to the folks in Coventry, I meant your town (that I lived in for nearly 10 years myself) no disrespect in. I was only trying to readdress good sportsmanship in and out of the dugout. Apparently I struck a very sensitive chord) and baseball season is almost a distant memory, I finally had the opportunity to address the litany of ‘frequently asked questions’ (FAQ) that my family hits me up with each summer.
In order to preserve the last fragments of my precious sanity, I thought I’d do my family a big favor and answer them in writing so they’ll be easily accessible come mid August.
Q. What are we doing today?
A. When I know, you’ll know.
Q. Why can’t we go to Bermuda like so and so’s family for vacation?
A. Because so and so’s family has 2.5 kids, not 8.5 like we do.
Q. Do we have to go to the beach again?
A. Ask me that again on September 24 when you’ve been back in the school grind for a month!
Q. Why does she (that would be younger sibling) always have to come with us?
A. She doesn’t. We can stay home if you’d like.
Q. Why is our summer always so boring?
A. Only boring people can be bored.
Q. What’s for lunch?
A. Remember those pancakes you didn’t all eat for breakfast?
Q. What are we going to do today?
A. I’m sorry—you cannot ask the same question twice.
Q. Why do we have to have summer reading?
A. So you won’t be bored, have nothing to do for the day, and it will help take your mind off of not going to Bermuda this vacation.
Q. Do we still have to do chores this summer?
A. Only if you want to help free me up so I can take you to the beach—again!
Q. My friends don’t have to go to church in the summer, why do we?
A. God doesn’t take the summer off and neither do we.
Q. Can we do something fun this summer?
A. Kids, we sure can and I’m glad you asked—please see the memo below:
Back by popular demand—please find a list of my top three suggestions on how to have FUN this summer.
1. Lazy Offs. Pick a day here and there and do absolutely nothing. That’s right, the less you do the better. Sleep in, eat ice cream for breakfast, hang out in the yard with the dogs all afternoon, lie down under the tree and watch the clouds pass you by. Your tired brain will thank you for this quiet time every now and again and so will your mother.
2. Experience one new thing this summer. Try a new fruit, go see a movie you typically aren’t drawn to, call a school friend that you never see during vacation, check out a new hobby—whatever it may be, be energized and in the moment when you do it, and perhaps you can challenge yourself to continue trying brand new things, without my nudging.
3. Share your time with someone who needs it. If you really can’t find anything “fun” to do during the 10 weeks of summer vacation, then perhaps you can find someone or some organization that you can share your time and energy with. Even young children can make a difference when given a chance. You might just learn a new meaning of fun when you help someone in need—even if that person is a loving family member such as your mother.
Wishing my family and yours a remaining safe, blessed, and fun-filled summer vacation as well as the hope that we all get asked some questions that will allow us to open our eyes rather than roll them.