Someone in Whit’s office gave him some terrific baseball tickets for a home game last night. Rather than calling any of his friends, Whit took Jack.
Now this was fraught with possible failure:
The game started at 7:00, and Jack falls asleep like a narcoleptic at 7:30 every night.
Whit likes to have a beer or two watching any sporting event, and that’s forbidden when he’s driving either of the kids.
It was approximately 500 degrees outside.
No kindergarten child will be riveted to seven innings of a baseball game, which is, to Whit, the earliest one is allowed to leave a major-league ballpark.
The possibility was high that they would arrive, find their seats, eat a hotdog, and then Jack would/could say,”I’m hot/bored/tired and I want to go home.” Then Whit would get annoyed. Then I’d get mad at Whit.
(Yes, if you have ever read this blog before, you have correctly labeled me a worrier. Just in case that wasn’t perfectly clear.)
Now, Jack got out of the car at 10:00, and the kid looked like he was drunk. (No. Neither Whit nor Jack had any beer. As far as I know.) He could barely form words he was so tired. But he told me all about the giant tvs and the crack of the bat and the hotdog and the popcorn and the ice cream and the home runs (even if he said the score was 2 to 1 and it was really 6 to 2). He was sweaty and chocolatey and dirty. And had a stomach ache from all the junk food. But he did, in fact, last seven innings at a baseball game with his dad.
And then Whit showed me a picture. Of Jack. Sitting at his first major-league baseball game, eating an ice cream cone, his baseball cap askew, and the biggest smile I’ve ever seen in my life plastered across his little face.
And I knew that, though they’ll attend a million sporting events together, neither Whit nor Jack would ever forget a minute of that hot, sticky game.
That’s what summer is all about. That’s what being a dad is all about. And yes, that’s exactly what being a little boy is all about.