Minnesota Mom’s talking baseball. As we do every spring, we Beans are surely doing our fair share of baseballing this season as well. And with an all time record of three boys participating this year, the fun is only just beginning. For any rookies out there, I share the following:
In answer to your immediate question, yes this is insane. It is insane for everyone in the world to expect your entire life to come to a screeching halt while you and your family eat, drink, breathe, and live BASEBALL for 8 weeks straight. To help you as you come to terms with the insanity, though, I offer you these tips from a veteran side fielder:
— If you want to eat at home, dinner must be served at either at 3:30 or 8:30. If neither of these sounds appealing, you can pack a picnic to eat at the ball field. But let’s get real here. You are not going to pack a picnic to eat at the ball field 5 nights a week. But don’t despair! With a little know-how you can pull together a fairly balanced meal from convenience store rations alone. A jar of peanuts, a box of juice boxes, a package of string cheese, a box of granola bars, a bag of cookies, and several packs of gum. See? All the major food groups are represented. And if any happen not to be, you will be the only one who notices.
— One more food tip: Make focaccia bread. It’s totally easy to make, it’s filling, and you can adjust its flavors to suit your family’s tastes. But the best part is that it’s great for grab-and-go eating. I made some late this afternoon and everyone ate before leaving (or as we were leaving) for baseball. We had a late after-baseball dinner tonight (pasta with the leftover focaccia bread) and nobody starved in the meantime.
— Every day, come hell or high water, get an early start on your laundry. Your day has just been shortened by several hours, Mom. If you don’t tackle those grass-stained uniforms first thing, your players are going to tackle you — when they find them still wet and sitting in the washer 10 minutes before game time.
— While we’re doing the laundry, here’s a related hint: Find a sacred place in your house where you will keep clean uniforms, socks, and cleats. Other kids can wear rubber boots to the field if necessary (Both Stephen and Raphael resorted to boot wear this afternoon) but save yourself an ulcer and make sure you know where the important stuff is. Keep their baseball gloves in the car too and you are good to go.
— Something else to store in your car: Every single sweatshirt your family owns. I am not kidding. This is terribly serious. Take it from a mom who has endured 40 degrees, a spitting rain, and howling winds all in the name of enjoying the great American pastime: You simply cannot have access to too many sweatshirts during baseball season.
— Yet another thing to store in your car: Bug spray. Happily for the bugs, peak blackfly and mosquito season happen to coincide with the baseball season. Also, bugs swarm in late afternoons and early evenings. And when are games scheduled? Why in late afternoons and early evenings, of course. Keep the spray near your person and your trigger finger ready.
— One final tip: Enjoy it. I know I do a fair amount of complaining about baseball, but here’s a little secret:
I like the baseball season.
I like that my boys so thoroughly enjoy a healthy activity. I like that we cheer for our team as a family. I like that after the rush to get out the door comes a mandatory daily slow-down. Sitting on a blanket watching ball. Applauding Raphael as he conquers the jungle gym. Sitting in a swing, holding a smiling baby in my lap, breathing in sunshine, and thinking, “Thank you God for this. Right here, right now.”