June 04, 2008

Put Me in Coach

Here lately when I look at my oldest boy I feel as though someone has waved some speedy wand of age over him. He's been a big boy for a while and, in my heart, I've known the few remainders of his baby days would soon be fleeting. However, his rapid ascent into big boydom (Yes, I did just make up a word --BAM!) has recently seemed like a rolling stone. Almost every day I notice some new development that only further drives home his branching independence. Sure, I see it in Rolan, too. He is now counting all the way to 10 and will celebrate his second birthday in July, but he still has at least one more year of the baby chin and needing Momma for smaller tasks. In Ridge, though, I see his ability to tackle little daily tasks expand all the time. It has happened so much faster than I thought it would.
While I wax and wane all teary-eyed nostalgic at least three or four times a week over Ridge's burst into big boydom (whippin' it out again, beotch), I am consoled by the fact that this also ushers in exciting rites of passage. Thanks to the fabulous and ultra brilliant Mollie, he is gradually learning to read through a program she gave us, "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons." A book lover myself, I have longed to share that passion with my kids well before they were born. I'm sure within the next year Ridge will learn to ride a bike and I've already posted about his first fishing adventure. His joy in learning and growing makes my heart warm.
And now, he is officially beginning his participation in sports. This summer he is playing in non-competitive t-ball. And, to spice things up a little more, I am going to be the team's coach. We are the tan team! Now, for those of you with kids on my team, I promise not to teach them to cuss. I'll at least wait for coach pitch to bust out the foul words. I only kid.
The season is short, only five games, and our team consists of three and four-year-olds, with 2/3 being 3. A bounty of giggles is guaranteed as we watch our babies playfully learn a sport. I may be more excited than Ridge, although he definitely loves any activity that permits him to club things with a bat. He is completely nondiscriminatory when I say "things," too. Whether it stems from unrestrained laughter or the bittersweet reality that my oldest baby isn't much of a baby anymore, I'm sure I'll be the only coach on the field with the occasional tear in my eye. I'll just blame it on the scorching sun, which will likely be punishing me for being born a redhead, certainly a misstep in the unforgiving Oklahoma heat. But, with all that said, I am really excited. Softball was such a big part of my childhood and adolescent summers. If Ridge has half the fun I am going to, then it's gonna be an awesome season.
The only obstacle I really foresee is with my baby, Rolan, who doesn't really understand that ihs brother is, in fact, older than him. Ridge was only 18 months old when Rolan was born and they have really been more like Irish twins. Rolan does not know he is younger. Any advantage Ridge may have with age in their wrestling warfare, Rolan more than equalizes with fierce head butts. So, I do think it may be difficult for Rolan to understand that he's going to be a watching the games from the stands. Next summer they will even get to be on the same team. I predict many runs onto the ball field only to be drug off, kicking and screaming to play with the bigger kids. I guess I could let him, but I'm already having a hard enough time accepting Ridge for the big boy he is rather than the baby I wish him to be. So, nope Rolan, you have to stay a baby for one more year.

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