Playing Catch-A Father's Day Story

Happy Father's day to my amazing husband and incredible dad. Oh I am so blessed. Blessed indeed!

Yesterday after church we went to P.F. Chang's for lunch, which is always yummy. Borders is close by and Brian loves to read so we took the girls over to Borders so they could help daddy pick out a book. By then it was nap time, not only for the girls, but for mommy too. This first trimester is kicking my tail and I just can't seem to get enough sleep. I was so thankful to get a nap. Then we went to Moe's for dinner and Sweet Cece's for ice cream. We ended a wonderful day at the pool. A good time was had by all.

This was Brian's first Father's Day without his dad who died in January. I have to say it was bittersweet. I know it was hard for him not to be able to pick up the phone and call him up. In honor of his dad he wrote an article and I surprised him by sending it to a couple of our local papers. One of them picked the story up and ran it. I was so happy. I wanted to share it with you because I think there is a lesson in it for all of us.

Never miss a moment to do something with someone that you love that you've always wanted to do. Don't forget to tell them you love them. You never know when their last day may be. I hope you enjoy it.

Playing Catch- A Father's Day Story

As I approach my first father-less Father's Day, I've come to appreciate second chances and the great things that can come from making tough but good choices to change. My parents got divorced when I was 6, and for about a 10-year period, we didn’t have much interaction. But one lesson my dad learned is that no matter how long things are a certain way, you can change them. After my dad survived a near-fatal car accident late in my high school years, he really started to come through, helping with my college and then getting to know my kids, my wife, and me.

Those changes in my dad inspired me to do something I’d missed out on doing as a kid. I have a foggy memory of one time throwing a tennis ball with my dad when I was a little kid, but never with an actual baseball and a glove. I remember I’d have friends who’d complain about their dads making them go out and play catch with them, and I just wanted to tell them they were idiots! They were so lucky. If you ever wanted to get me choked up, show me a dad playing catch. Every boy’s favorite scene from The Natural was when Roy Hobbs hit the ball into the lights and they exploded. Mine was at the end when he got to throw the ball with his son.

One day, well after I’d gotten married and started my own family, I decided I wasn’t going to whine and feel sorry for myself about what I’d missed as a kid. I was going to make something of what I had. My dad was coming into town, so I bought him a glove, and a baseball, and planned to play catch with him sometime that weekend. It was a cool and windy fall day in late October. We were dedicating our two-month-old daughter Brooklyn at church, and several family members had come down to Nashville from Indiana to celebrate with us.

We'd all come back to our house from church, and my Dad and his wife were getting ready to leave. To be honest, my plan almost didn't happen. I was so nervous about suggesting it that I waited till his trip was over, the car was packed, and everyone was saying their goodbyes. I grabbed Dad as he was heading out to the car, told him the idea. He said, "I reckon I can do that", and we all went out to the back yard. My brothers Frank and Eddy were there, too, and I had gloves for all. My older sister Kelly, who'd played softball in high school, came out to throw as well. It was pretty much a Norman Rockwell painting all around, with Dad standing about even with the Bradford pear tree, and us kids about even with the garage side of the house taking turns throwing the ball to him. And then for reasons unknown, Dad decided to attempt what might justifiably be called assisted suicide.

"Hey, Eddy!" he called out. "Why don't you throw it to me as hard as you can!" Not even a question, really, it was more of an order. Eddy had been brought up to obey his parents, but in this case, he should have just forgotten Commandment #5 and said no.
My 6 foot - four inch brother Eddy has, if not a world-famous, at least a family-famous, arm. One time during a church league softball game he was playing the outfield, and threw the ball on a line to home plate. The ball came in so hard that even though it hit the catcher in the glove, it still knocked the guy over on his back. That was from about 200 feet throwing to a 220 pound college kid. This was from about 30 feet throwing to a 185 pound grandfather of four who probably hadn't played ball since high school. Also, we had a baseball, which travels a heck of a lot faster than a softball.

"Are you sure?" Eddy asked. "Yeah, throw it on in here." the old man replied. I started to mentally go over my EMT training for handling blunt head trauma. Eddy, not one to under-do things, reared back and let the ball fly with all his might. Time slowed down. The ball turned a bright blue flame color. Dad seemed to slowly raise up his glove about shoulder high. Would the glove get up to ball level in time? Would it matter? Could the ball actually break through the glove's webbing and embed itself in our father's chest cavity? Or would he amazingly lean back, Matrix-style, while the ball rippled through space and time as it passed over him, creating its own sound wave tunnel? Then...SMACK! The ball crashed safely into the glove, and Dad rocked back, ever so slightly. He was still alive, but I'm guessing a little bit shaken. We joked that next time he should do something a little safer and let my nearsighted brother Frank throw knives at him or something.

On January 15 of this year (2010), I got a call that my dad had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from heart disease that none of us knew he had. I'm so thankful that we'd both changed enough to not miss those second chances, those memories, and those opportunities to be father and son.

Happy Father's Day, dad. We miss you.
Brian

I am so proud of my husband and so thankful for the amazing father that he is to our girls. The girls love their daddy and love being with him. They love to tackle him and pounce on him when he comes home from work. They love to go swimming with him and loves when he reads to them at night, especially when he reads to them in french. Brooklyn loves to study maps with daddy and Sydney loves to show daddy her signature ballet move. She can pull her foot to the back of her head. Most of all, they like to cuddle up to daddy and watch a movie.

Last but not least. I am thankful to have an amazing father. He has given of himself and has always worked hard to provide for his family. Most importantly, he is a man of God and a man of his word. He has taught his 4 daughters how to love and how to live a life according to scripture. I would not be the woman I am today without the love and guidance he has shown me over the years. It's invaluable and I will always be thankful to him for it. I love you dad very much. I am so thankful my girls have such an amazing papa in their lives.

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. I hope it was a great one for you.

2 comments:

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Mr. and Mrs. Smith said...

This was a great post!! Loved it!

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