This is Simon’s second season/second year with the Heroes here in League City. It’s part of the Challenger League, a special needs Little League baseball thingy.
Here’s why it’s awesome: it’s normally one of the most relaxed ways of playing games.
Simon’s game today was at 10 a.m. Which was only a slight problem because we were out at a late movie last night, and so we set the alarm to get up in time to make it to his game on time. But then one of us (ahem, Patrick) reset the alarm when it went off without realizing it, and so we slept a bit more than we meant to.
We woke up at 10 a.m.
But we got Simon ready – he was totally up for it because most of the season got cancelled because of all the rain we’ve been having lately. And we got there less than half an hour late.
The game was already underway, but they got Simon slipped into the batting line-up.
Because we were late, he only got to play one and a half innings (instead of two), but he was still happy enough.
The best part, though, wasn’t even his playing.
The best part was that, near the very end of the game, during Simon’s team last at-bat, the last chance to bat, one of the other team’s players decided that he did want to bat after all. Apparently he hadn’t wanted to go during his team’s turn, but he changed his mind.
So he came up and hit.
Because why not?
Everyone had a good game. Everyone had fun. And then there was ice cream afterwards.
Only one game left this season. Hoping the weather doesn’t knock it out of the park.
Sure, there were some rough moments.
He got upset when he had to bat twice during the first inning of the baseball game. He knows the way the game is played, but since his team was half the size of the other team, the organizers went ahead and had the kids bat twice. Fun for a bunch of them, but for Simon, just a bit too much of a change in the routine. He got over it, though, thanks to some awesome high school helpers and good coaching. He even went up for bat in the second inning. (The games are only two innings long…)
After the game was over, he didn’t want to go home. He want to go “somewhere.” So we decided it was time to go to the zoo before the rain came in.
He had a great time there, too – we saw the sea lions, the elephants, the meerkats, the pirahannas, the bats, all the good stuff. He got to ride on the carousel, one of his favorite things.
And then. Then he decided it was time to go out to dinner. At one p.m.
We delayed him and stalled him, we went over the song from ‘Singing Times’ about what time dinner was – “When you eat at night, that’s dinner” – and talked about when dinner would be. Once we got home and ate lunch, we went over time again, and we wrote up a note about time. Then it was time for distraction mode: we reminded him about his new horse stamp set that he loves, and he settled on the floor with it to stamp up pages and then color them in. Win!
Finally, a trip to Denny’s where he enjoyed his grilled cheese and French fries and stole some of Patrick’s pancakes to top it off.
But the future is a scary place, especially when your worries are compounded by not knowing.
We don’t know what Simon will be capable of.
We don’t know what Simon will need.
We don’t know what Simon will want.
And the news, Dateline in particular, has been running information about aging out.
A fear for any parent with a special needs child in the same situation. What is going to happen, not tomorrow but in five years? Ten years?
We have our plans for retirement, but we don’t know where Simon will fit into those plans. And what happens beyond that, even? What happens after we’re dead?
It’s amazing how easy it is to think of the future, especially when there aren’t any sure answers.
First off, for those in the Houston area who are reading this, I highly recommend you register for the Family to Family Network Conference and Resource Fair. They have two this year – both of them just under a full day long. The first one is Saturday, March 22, and it lasts from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
I had registered for it. There are some awesome-sounding panels. I was going to “The Future is Sooner Than You Think” and “Working out Conflicts” and “My Kid in One Page or Less.” All of that sounds really, really good, right? I’m sure it would have been. But it turns out I won’t be going.
Because on the first of March, Simon started the Hometown Heroes Challenger League. It’s the Little League Baseball team meant for children with disabilities. They have volunteer boys from the Little League who come and work one-on-one with the kids on the Challenger League, and the Challenger League gives the kids who wouldn’t normally get to play Little League a chance to, well, play Little League.
I missed the first game. I had planned, before I knew the game schedule, a trip for business to Seattle. I couldn’t cancel it, and it would be okay; my husband was taking Simon, and they would have a great time. (They did.)
But I missed it.
I wasn’t there for it, and while I got a wealth of pictures and even a few videos, I wasn’t there for it.
So I look at it this way – I can go and learn about my child in an abstract way. I can figure out future plans that may or may not happen. I can hear about conflict resolution. And I can condense everything about him into a single page to help others learn about him.
Or I can go and actually be with him. I can watch him play. I can help him. I can cheer him on. I can see what he does.
I don’t think there’s really much of a choice at all there, is there?