My five-year-old son started playing baseball this spring. Not tee ball. Baseball. The coaches pitch to the kids. There are no strikes. No outs. Everyone hits. Everyone scores. And that is all well and good.
Except when a kid can’t hit the ball. Because the league is adamant about not using a tee, and sometimes a kid will whiff at a pitch 20, 30, 40 times until they make enough contact to allow them to run to first base. This obviously slows down an already slow game. At my son’s first game, some kid was up at bat for like 10 minutes. I was thinking, How painful must this be for the kid’s parent?
Christian, my son, did well his first couple of times at bat. He’d hit it (not far) after a few pitches and run, correctly, to first base. But, at last night’s game, during his second at-bat, he was The Kid Who Couldn’t Hit the Ball. He probably took about 25 swings. It was painful. He seemed all right about it. But with every pitch I began to move in a way that I thought would help him swing the bat and make contact, even though I was standing behind the bleachers. Because that’s all you want to do for your kid when you’re a parent: help.
Being a younger parent (my oldest is eight), learning that you cannot always help your children get out of a tough situation has been and will continue to be a difficult lesson. But that was just not hitting a ball. What about when their life is in danger?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Maren Sanchez the past couple of days. She is the 16-year-old girl from Jonathan Law High School, in Milford, who died after a peer stabbed her in the neck in a school stairwell Friday morning because she said she would not go to the junior prom with him that night. Not only is thinking about her final moments terrifying, for her and for those who arrived on the scene to help her, but for her mother. When all you want is to help your child, what do you do when they’re dead?
My parents went through this. My sister died when she was 16, and when I got older I spent a lot of time thinking about what my parents must have been thinking. It’s excruciating. And now that I’m a parent, it hurts even more, thinking about what that must have felt like. What it still feels like. . . .
My thoughts and prayers are with Maren’s mother and everyone else affected by this, yet another, senseless tragedy in a Connecticut school. A child should be able to leave their home in the morning, go to school, and come back home. It should be something parents expect, not hope for.