Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.
― Yogi Berra
Buddy, yours is pretty much the only birthday we celebrate around here, ya know. Because it’s your birthday — and the anniversary of our family. And THAT’S something to celebrate.
Every year — we pick out the birthday shirt, take a family photo on the backyard fence, eat dinner somewhere goofy like Chuck E. Cheese, blow out the candles, talk about the day you were born, and read the Birthday Book before bed. And this year, we did all of that — with a twist.
The last few months you’ve been all baseball, and with your birthday falling on a Saturday this year – we decided to go for it. The nearest Major League team playing at home that day was Kansas City – so the Royals it would be for your first game. You asked a few times what we would do for your birthday this year, and we would shrug and smile. “I don’t know. Maybe it’ll be a surprise… *wink wink*”
You woke up Saturday morning, opened cards and packages from family, made a birthday wish, and we loaded the car for our trip. By this time, you’d managed to get out of us that we were going to Kansas City — but nothing further.
We were shocked at your patience all the way to Kansas City. No questions, no interrogation. Obviously excited about your birthday surprise, but content to wait it out and enjoy the Mystery Birthday Roadtrip.
We pulled into Kansas City and you had your head so buried in a Pokemon game in the backseat you didn’t even notice we drove RIGHT past the stadium. It wasn’t until we checked into the hotel in the middle of a mob of Royals fans – just hours before the game – that you started to put it together. I leaned down and whispered in your ear, “do you think you know what your surprise is?”
The grin on your face at that moment is burned in my memory.
We scurried up to the room to change clothes for the game — and you (finally!) got to wear your official 08 birthday shirt.
Quick dinner, quick shuttle ride, and the party could start! As we found our gate and found our seats, it was as if your little heart couldn’t even process it all.
I could have snapped photos of the dazzled look on your freckled little face all night. But honestly, Buddy, the photos are just gravy. As long as I live, I will never forget this enchanted, happy, 8-year-old face.
After the first few innings you jumped right in with the other vultures, crowding the dugout on the third out – hoping to get tossed a baseball.
You cheered, you ate peanuts, you discovered I wasn’t just making that up about “The Wave”. And you insisted we stay until the very last pitch.
Riding the high of a big home team win, we shuttled back to the hotel in time to collapse into bed for the annual reading of the Birthday Book.
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
― Dr. Seuss
Each year, I swear it’s been my favorite. I love the playful wit, the brave spirit, and the kind heart you are growing into more and more each day.
Goodnight, 8 year old.
Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.