Last night Lori and I had the privilege in participating in a significant rite of passage for children -- their first major league baseball game! We were able to take Brennan and Leah over to St. Petersburg to see the Detroit Tigers take on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. We left Jason with some friends for the evening because, though we love him dearly, we didn't think that our little two year old would sit still through a nine inning baseball game. It was probably a wise decision. We had a great time (even though the Tigers lost 7-3) and it was quite fulfilling to know that our kids were having a fun time.
The role of being a parent is not always an easy one. Though there are thousands of books written on the topic of parenting and there are always people willing to offer their advice on parenting, you always wonder if the job you're doing as a dad (or a mom) is good enough. Are you messing your kids up for the rest of their life? Are your bad habits and sin patterns rubbing off on your little ones, inevitably scarring them for life? You also ask yourself, "What kind of memories am I helping to make for my children?"
Fortunately, I think we made some good memories with Brennan and Leah last night. Even though they are only six and five years old, respectively, chances are that they will remember this evening for the rest of their lives. It was their very first major league baseball game. They probably won't forget it. They'll remember getting to see the players in person that up until that point they had only been able to see on T.V. They'll remember the hot dogs and cotton candy. Brennan will remember anxiously waiting in his seat with his ball glove on for a foul ball to come our way (sorry it didn't happen, buddy). And Leah will remember her favorite part of the game being the "Kissing Cam." That's when the Jumbotron shows kissing couples at the game. Five years old and the girl is already a hopeless romantic.
But most of all, I hope that our kids will remember spending time with their mom and dad doing something fun. I hope Brennan remembers us sitting in our seats and me explaining the intricacies of the game, like why a pitcher tries to pick-off a runner or why Dmitri Young could afford to lose some weight so that he can make the stretch at first base. I think of the many young boys that don't get the chance to go to a ball game with their dad because he's not in their lives. How sad.
I'm thankful that I have positive memories of time with my dad going to ball games at Tiger Stadium when I was a kid. Of getting hot dogs with a slap of mustard on 'em and munching on some Cracker Jacks. Of sitting in obstructed view seats at the old stadium. Of watching my favorites Trammell and Whitaker turn another double play or Lance Parrish hitting a home run. Is there anything more American than a father and son taking in a baseball game together? I hope that in the many memories that will form in my children's minds through the course of their years, I hope that the memory of last night will be as good as the memory that I will have of it.