To keep our hearts beating, we will do a whole nature of things that go well beyond physical protection. Sure, we feed them, clothe them, make them brush their teeth and try to keep them basically healthy. That's kind of a no-brainer. But what else is there? Now that I have one that's almost double digits (holy. crap.), I'm really learning the extents to which I will go, the mountains I will climb, to raise the little people I made into the best adults they can be.
As I'm sure you've noticed, my boy child has an affinity for baseball. Just a little. I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised - it's in his DNA. My Dad played ball for the Padres organization in the 60's. My Popop (on the other side of the family, my Mom's Dad) was pursued by the Yankees in the 30's-ish (the YANKEES! In the golden era of baseball!!). Neither of them played past their late teens/early twenties. My Dad because there wasn't a whole lot of money in baseball in the 60's, unless you were a superstar, and he was already married with a son, and my Grandfather because he came from a "good" family, and you just didn't ignore your "real life" to "play a game". But the fact is that my son has a baseball rich heritage. Who knows, maybe he's got the spirit of my Pop in him, urging him along so he can give it another go.
But whether it's because if all that or in spite of it, my son loves this game. He watches the games, follows the stats - both Minor AND Major League, plays every chance he can get... He eats, sleeps and breathes this sport. He's got a passion for it that's rare in 9 year old boys. So we foster it. We feed it. We play with him. We have fun with him. We get him lessons. We send him to camps and clinics. We try not to think about the expense, and we simply find a way. A way to help our heart not just keep beating, but grow and thrive. And that's how I came to be writing this today, from a Starbucks 50 miles from my house.
We signed Connor up for summer camp with the Washington Nationals, his favorite baseball team. It was quite the expense, and it's not close. It not only required financial output for the camp itself, but a 50 mile drive - each way, every day, sometimes twice a day for me, for 5 days. Through morning rush hour in DC traffic. Which can be (and has been, on a couple of occasions), nightmarish. But the look on his face when I told him he was going was amazing. The experience he's had this week was worth. every. damn. penny. Every minute on the highway. Every gallon of gas and mile on my beloved car. Every whine from my 3 year old, who had to make the afternoon drive with me 3 times. All to keep my heart beating strongly.
And today? Today is Friday. The last day of Nats Camp.
But that's not even all. He gets to meet one of the players. And not some Minor Leaguer who's name no one knows, yet. He gets to meet a regular. An active 25-man roster guy. He gets to meet Nate McLouth, who my son knows and respects. He gets to talk to him, ask him questions, and get an autograph.
He gets to touch the dream today. And that's worth all the exhaustion, all the time, all the money in the world. Because I will do all of that and more... because my heart deserves every bit of it.