Monday, February 18, 2013

Baseball, Maxwell's Poetry and Hope

It had been a long day.  One of those types of days where you push through but your heart is weary.  Not just your physical body is tired but your spirit is waning too.  Yeah, like that.  We had spent the whole morning out at the baseball field for some last minute tryouts.  I had planned to be at a women's Valentine's Tea for church.  I knew Steve would be busy so I had arranged two different babysitters for the four older kids (thanks grandparents!) and was excited I could attend.  Saturday events have been hard for me to navigate for the last three years because Saturday is Steve's main study day.  So when I can make something, it's an extra special treat.
Big brother wanted to dance with his pretty baby sister!
On Friday I had unexpectedly gotten wind of baseball tryouts the next morning.  I hadn't gotten an email or anything about them.  So when I saw they were the next morning, I was down.  But they started at 9 am and the tea wasn't until 10:30 am.  I had hope that maybe I'd still be able to attend but would just be late.  I reworked things with both sets of grandparents and hoped for the best.
Woken up too early for a Valentine's Date with Daddy!
We showed up at 8:55 am ready to hit some balls and practice fielding.  Evidently the league wants the teams to be fair so that is why there has to be a tryout.  Around 9:15 people started showing up.  And people kept pouring in until about 10 am.  There were kids ages 7-12 in attendance.  Meanwhile, the kids and I went to the playground to get some energy out while we waited.

Inside I wanted to complain to someone.  I wanted to whine that I already had plans and waiting at the baseball field wasn't on my list of things to do that morning.  But my little seven-year-old has been waiting to play little league baseball for the last two years.  He loves baseball.  During baseball season, he listens to as many games as he can on the radio often falling asleep to the announcers calling the game.  I knew I had to put myself aside and just do this for him.  He couldn't be placed on a team unless we showed up.

So we waited.
We'll have to work on those moves :)
Around 10:15 they started tryouts.  And someone thought it would be a great idea to start with the biggest kids there.  There were about 20 kids in each age group except for Isaac's.  In Isaac's there were five.  FIVE!  But instead of getting the littlest ones out of there quickly, they started with the twelve year olds and worked their way down to the 7 year olds for the next hour and a half.

When we had been there about two hours, Isaac came up to me choking back tears and said, "Mommy, this isn't very much fun."  He wasn't being bratty, he was just disappointed.  He thought he was going to play baseball and instead of getting to play, he was constantly told to stay out of the way while the big kids played.  He thought that little league was going to be like that all of the time.  I held him close to me, told him I understood what he meant but that this was just a silly day, it wasn't going to be like this once he was on a team and that mommy didn't like to wait either but we had to.
My oldest is getting so big and handsome ...almost too much for me to bear.
From that moment on I knew my attitude must be impeccable.  I prayed for strength because inside I was pretty disappointed too.  It was clear I wasn't going to make the tea.  I was still going to drop the kids off with grandparents and get some quiet time that afternoon so I tried to focus on that.

There was definitely a voice inside whispering that this wasn't my job, that Steve should be there with all of the kids and I should be at that tea!  Sports is his area anyway.  Because of the frustrating circumstances, I wanted to give in to it.  But I've been down that road's poison.  And that poison can take all of us out quick.  So I fought it.  No, this is OUR choice.  This is the way it has to be for just a little bit longer.  We're almost done.  Yes, it was messing with my plans, but God knew that.  This is what God had for me today.  As a parent, my needs/desires come last, that's just the way it is.  I'm a grown-up now.  This is my responsibility and not anyone else's.
Valentine's workshop...this kid kills me-enough said.
Isaac was the last batter of the whole try-out.  He hit a couple of balls and it took about 5 minutes.  Three hours, no tea for me, for five minutes.  Okay...I took a deep breath and was onto the next thing.

I dropped the kids off with grandparents, had some lunch in town with my parents (which revived me a bit) and then drove home.  My attitude was doing better but my spirit was tired.  I quietly prepared for our Sabbath meal coming that evening and soaked in the still house as the little ones slept.  Right before dinner we picked up Steve from studying and then all sat down.  When it came time in the liturgy for Steve to talk about me, he went to his backpack and got his notebook out.  Being an unusual move, I had no idea what he was doing.
Our architect at work
He rifled through the various math notes scribbled here and there full of symbols and numbers until he got the page he was looking for and then he read these words to me:

Trust me Spring is very near
All the buds are swelling
All the glory of the year
In those buds is dwelling

What the open buds reveal
Tell us life is flowing
What the buds still shut, conceal
We shall end in knowing

Long I lingered in the bud
Doubting of the season
Winter's cold had chilled my blood
I was ripe for treason

Now no more I doubt or wait
All my fears are vanished
Summer's coming dear though late,
Fogs and frosts are banished

-James Maxwell (A poem written to his wife)

Steve didn't write those words but James Maxwell did (the guy he is doing his thesis on).  Who ever said mathematicians can't be poets??  I hadn't even been able to tell Steve much about our disappointing day.  But I needed to hear those words.  God knew I needed them.
The One my Heart Loves
Trust me Spring is very near....

All the buds are swelling.

The tears slid down my cheeks.

Summer's coming dear though late  

Fogs and frosts are banished.

He then reminded me that we were so close and he was so proud of me.  I needed that encouragement.  I needed him to acknowledge the fact that my muscles were straining and even seeming to fail in these last miles of the marathon.  I needed him to understand that it wasn't always easy for me.  Not because I needed to complain but simply because I needed him to know me.

It had been a long, weary day and it was hard  for me to see past myself.  But these words, from my left brained, mathy husband (written by a math genius) spoke to this right brained mama's heart and I knew-it had been hard.  But I had been where I needed to be that day.  And soon, this race would be run.  There would be others but this one would be over.

Those words comforted me...God knows me.  God cares.  Steve knows me.  Steve loves me.  We're going to finish this well.  And in that moment, God in His kindness, had reminded me of what was coming.  And getting a glimpse of the impending spring was just the hope my weary soul needed to carry on. 


  1. There are tears in my eyes. I love that he read you a poem. I also wish so much I could be close to come alongside you in a more tangible way.

  2. Wow Nikki! Love your blogs. Being a Mom is hard. But soo rewarding...Done that, been there. Whew! I could write the book! Keep the faith and just being you:) Hang in there honey:)

  3. Love, love, love! Nikki, you are being heroic: it's harder to do what you did that day than to suffer dramatic tortures for the Name. To keep commitments and model a good attitude, no matter how you feel inside, makes saints. God bless you!

  4. Haha! I felt so stressed reading this because it brought back some memories of Saturdays I had this last soccer season when Kusie was finishing up his thesis writing. Some CRAZY days when it was JUST me to get all the kids where they needed to go.

    You guys will make it, you are almost done!