Michael Jasper

Trees and Saplings

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This photo (taken with my phone, which I then retouched with Instagram), was taken at Drew’s baseball “tryouts” last week, where he got to field some grounders and swing at half a dozen balls from the pitching machine.

He did great, even though I haven’t been playing as much catch with him as I should be (bad dad, bad dad!). Got a couple hits, and didn’t let any grounders get by him! I’m really hoping he enjoys playing baseball. I loved it as a kid, though I liked the sandlot games we played with friends during the summer instead of the organized games I played in for Little League (man, talk about stressful. Like not-getting-your-bat-off-your-shoulder stressful).

I’m hoping by starting him and Mitch earlier in sports, it’ll come more naturally to them, and be less stressful… But we’ll see. I know I was a stressed-out dad just watching him go through the exercises. At least, looking around at the other worried expressions on the grown-ups hovering outside the diamond, I wasn’t alone in feeling that way.

The night was also a revelation for me in that it was Drew, me, and Mitch, too at the “tryouts.” Mitch didn’t want to play catch with us, and I couldn’t get him to stay close to me. So I took a deep breath and let him go play with the other kids under that big oak tree in the photo above.

That was hard. I’m overly protective of my kids, so letting him go off and play (he’s 4 and a half, Drew’s 7) without being able to see him at all times was like a slow torture. But I told him the boundaries and let him know exactly where I’d be if he needed me. And I let go.

It’s hard for this old oak to let go of his little saplings. But I’m hoping it gets easier, and it gives them lots of room to grow. I have no problem standing in their shadows at some later date a few years from now…

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