I went to the ballpark today, did you?
Today I had concession stand duty! What mama doesn't love to serve up some nachos and chili chees fries to a bunch of boys in between games? ;)
Well, I won't be telling stories about sunflower seeds and Diet Dr. Pepper in this post but I do want to share some things that you may never think about, unless you are a "mom like me."
Toward the end of the first game the bleachers were full of parents, grandparents, fans, aunts, uncles and friends, a scene that is pretty typical of a baseball game. (oh, except for the man that had his gray and orange shirt on backwards that stood in front of me! It was Adidas, of all brands! SO you know that word sat right on his shoulder, as if to wave at me all during the game! Goodness, that was tough!) Other than that man's shirt and the game, my mind was drifting off to what everyone else couldn't see... unless they were like me.
I saw 13 and 14 year old boys in the dugout in uniform and couldn't help but think of my friend who will never see her son on the ballfield again. He plays for Jesus now.
I saw the absence of his presence in a uniform. I felt his absence. And I missed his presence.
I saw a beautiful little baby girl, I held her, I squeezed her cheeks... and I knew that just a few feet away from where I was holding her, there was a mama who would never be able to hold her baby girl again. It ripped my heart out.
I felt her absence. And I missed her presence.
I know what it feels like to see a baby and not be able to hold mine and I feel that. I get that. I cannot explain it either.
I know what it feels like to see my 12 year old play ball without his teammate and friend beside him. I know what it feels like to be a friend to his mom who wishes she had smelly baseball socks to wash. I know how it feels to be her friend and I know how it feels to be that mom.
It is an awful feeling...
I began to look around the ballpark and I knew there were mothers and fathers who were out there that were missing their kids too! My heart broke.
I wanted to protect the mamas out there at the field today from seeing others with their children. I didn't want them to feel the pain in seeing the presence of someone else's child and feeling the absence of their own. It hurts so badly. I know that all too well. Some of my hardest days ever have been at the ballpark.
I will never see Matthew steal second or throw a pitch. And EVERY time I am at the ballpark I am reminded of that. Every single time.
There's never a team without a Matthew on it, right? GO MATTHEW! GO MATT! Oh, my heart! EVERY SINGLE TIME!
Someone sitting beside you today at the ballpark could have been feeling this too... maybe you don't even know it. You may not even be aware of their loss... but I promise if you grab a handful of friends,one is experiencing this pain.
The ballpark is often referred to as a field of dreams... but for some "mamas like me" it can be a painful reminder of dreams that will never come true.
I know what it feels like to suffer in silence and some people may never talk about their loss, but I do! I want them to know it is okay to talk about their children too! I want to listen!
It is important for moms like me to remember their children. Just because we don't have them in our arms doesn't mean it discounts their role in our lives as our child.
I cannot tell you how many times I have visited Matthew's gravesite before a ballgame. Please be kind to the person beside you, you don't know where they just came from.
I say that with great empathy and sympathy.
Today as all of the kids were running around the ballpark, I noticed the ones that could not be seen, the ones we feel in our heart every second of every day. I saw them. In memory of all of those precious children that will never get to run around the bases... your absence was felt and your presence was missed today at the ballpark!
Next time you are at the ballpark, maybe you will notice them too!
P.S. I wonder how hard Matthew is trying to convince Jesus it is okay to steal second base! ;)
XOXO to all of you!