I’ve been working a little crazily lately (hence the lack of posts) and got home last night right when the boys were headed to bed. Thankfully, I was able to give them each a wet kiss they hated with white hot fury. Too bad.
Moments later I was chatting with Diana when she looked at me in the eye and said, “You HAVE to teach Eli to catch.”
It appears that one of the kids from the neighborhood has been making fun of Elijah for his lack of skills. I guess he accidentally threw a baseball into our neighbor’s yard and while Diana helped them recover it, this nameless child said, “Eli is weak.” When Diana demanded to know what he meant, he said, “He’s just…weak.”
And then after some ill fated at bats down the street, he came home and glumly said, “I’m the worst at sports ever.”
My heart shattered into a billion pieces. I had failed in my one and only job as a dad: Teaching him to be a major league short stop. Granted, Eli’s aversion to any and all requests to play sports had, until that moment, been well documented. But momentum just swung in sport’s direction like that game where they hit the black disk thingy on ice.
I ran up to the boy’s room and grabbed Eli in a hug and whispered in his ear, “Do you want to learn how to catch a ball?”
Luca called from below, “Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!”
Elijah whispered back, “Yes.”
I told him my schedule doesn’t allow for sunset games of catch at the end of a fictional cul de sac. But if we was serious about learning how to play catch, I would wake up at 6:30 every morning and teach him how to catch for a half hour every single day until he was good enough to make the nameless neighbor kid feel like never picking up a bat or ball ever again. Eli breathlessly agreed.
Luca said, “Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!”
I said, “What, Luca? What?”
“I found my fire truck ladder.”
“That’s great, honey.”
As if on cue, Mother Nature sucker punched us with a terrible summer storm. All night, Grover stuck his face in my face, panting to let me know the National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning.
It was still pouring at 6:30am when Eli tip toed in and said glumly, “I guess we can’t play catch, huh?”
I said, “We are going to play catch, Eli. I promised you we would.” And so we went to our basement with two whiffle balls and put our time in. Eli was determined, if rarely successful. I think he nabbed one out of every 30 balls thrown. But he didn’t let it get him down and actually concentrated on keeping his eye on the ball.
We agreed to do the same thing tomorrow and every day after.