The day before it happened, I saw the look in his eye and I knew. ... The husband would be heartbroken.
With a few spare minutes before Ittybit's dance class we stopped at the Surly Drip in the center of town. I wasn't sure I could face the other mothers, sitting on the edge of their seats holding their breath for the "Re-vi-lay," without something caffeinated.
Gathered in front of the coffee shop were legions of Little Leaguers.
He reached for me when I unhooked his tether. As I backed out of the car with him in my arms, he clung to me silently. His eyes were wide. His tight grip pressed down on my torso as he inched higher. He wanted to get a better view of the button-capped boys and girls chasing each other from stoop to sidewalk with Vitamin Waters and toasted bagels.
I was resigned to wait. I had guessed there would be a line. The season had commenced earlier that morning with a candy-hurling gang of players parading past our house to the baseball field down the street. We had trudged out to the edge of the yard to wave them by. There were too many teams to play at once.
Ittybit snip-snapped past me making full use of her flip-flops and flouncy dress as she made her way to the cooler containing colorful drinks. We had a full itinerary for that first summery day, and she didn't want to miss a second of it. But she did want a taste of pink water to go with her buttery bread.
I'd promised ...
Still silent and unwiggling as I swayed in line, The Champ adjusted his weight and position to keep his eyes always on the ball players.
Later in the weekend ... at the party of a thousand activities he honed in on one: A construction cone set-up with a few wiffle balls and bats.
With the help of an older boy my baby took hold of one of the bats and, with an imperfect stance, commensed playing his first improvised game of T-ball. Each time he swung - handle to ball - he sent the hollow orb flying. When the boy had tired of fetching the ball The Champ chased after it himself and carefully set it up again. ... and again ... and again.
When he got home he found a plain blue baseball hat in a pile of hand-me-downs I'd yet to handed over or down, and put it on. He refused to take it off.
His father, the soccer enthusiast, has accepted that his is a baseball fan with as much grace as he can muster. "It doesn't matter what he plays ... it doesn't matter if he plays ... as long as he's happy doing it."