Number 3 was up to bat. There were several swings at the coach’s pitch, and then came the opportunity to hit off the tee. It rolled about 6 feet, and “Chapman” was off to first base. He would eventually round home plate, and his first ever score in Little League Baseball was in the books.
Steven and I have watched probably hundreds of games at this little baseball park in Tennessee. Many warm summer and fall evenings were spent watching Caleb (No. 3) and Will (No. 2) hit their gloves with their hands, waiting and hoping for the catch of the year. Their bats would hit home plate as they waited for the perfect pitch to come their way. Their sights were on making plays of the century—when in reality, most of their “plays” involved picking clovers and playing in the outfield dirt. And even over the winter months, when their cleats were stored away, the boys were still counting down the days until they would pull them back out and lace up to take the field once more.
Season after season and countless loads of laundry later (I would tirelessly clean snotty jerseys, dusty pants, and sweat-stained hats!), the boys grew into quite the baseball players. At one point, they even claimed the title of state champions as the Grassland Copperheads! Oftentimes, I’d find myself cherishing each memory watching the boys play together, but before I knew it, they grew out of Little League and were on to something else.
I do regret the days we didn’t embrace those moments—the days where it seemed like more work and busyness than fun. I wish I could say that we soaked up every swing of a bat, every catch, and every high-five and “good game” whisper. But sometimes, we strike out, and we don’t make every catch.
Fast forward 20-plus years, Noble Day Chapman (Caleb’s son) is now wearing No. 3 with “Chapman” across the back, playing on the very fields where my boys dreamed of the Big Leagues. Talk about a flood of memories rushing back as Steven and I found our way to those same bleachers—only now instead of “Mom” and “Dad,” we’re watching as “Grammy” and “PopPops.”
A whole pile of Noble’s cousins come to watch the games with us, so Steven and I get to watch our kids’ families make memories of their own. Stories are told (and embellished!) about the games of yesteryear, and I just try to soak it all in. Soon Noble could be the one with “Chapman” on his own son’s jersey. Then Caleb and Julia will be the ones reflecting on the memories of Nobles’ baseball career while soaking up new ones with their grandson. If so, I do hope they savor every swing, catch, and high-five.
Friends, trust me, time does go by quickly, so it’s important to remember to savor each moment. Don’t miss it. I know that in this crazy life, it’s easy to feel like we’re too busy to just stop and be present, but memories are constantly being made on the field, at the dinner table, and even in the carpool line. The days will soon turn to years, and these memories are treasured gifts that keep us moving forward. So, let’s try to be fully present, and savor the moments while we’re in them.