Thoughts during an evening at baseball practice

I sit on the bleacher and watch our little boy play, and it occurs to me in a flash: My baby boy isn’t that little anymore.

It’s not just that he’s getting tall. There’s something different about the way our 7-year-old acts out on the baseball field, the way he holds himself.

He’s no longer drawing patterns in the dirt or plucking blades of grass. He’s watching the batter at home plate.

He’s swinging the bat and hitting the ball in a graceful arc that lands in the field.

He’s rounding the bases with purpose.

He’s listening to his coach and chatting with his teammates as they run on and off the field.

He doesn’t look like a little child. He looks like…well…like a baseball player.

“I always want to play baseball,” he told me the other day. Maybe he will. Maybe he won’t. But I love that he’s found something he enjoys, something that gets him excited, something that makes him feel like he’s part of something bigger than himself.

I try to remember times in my life when I found something I enjoyed so much that I wanted to do it forever. It was never baseball—or any sport—for me, but many of those times helped me realize I wanted to be a mother and a writer. Maybe it’s those moments that are the ones that give us a glimpse into who we are and who we will become.

As I watch our baseball player on the field, I marvel at the focus he brings to a simple practice on a gorgeous spring night. He could be flying down the sidewalk on his bicycle or chasing bunnies through our yard. Instead he’s dressed in his full uniform for a practice, tossing baseballs back to the coach.

I can’t tell whether he’s one of the better players on the team. That doesn’t matter. I know he’s right where he needs to be right now. And so am I.

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.