baseball, rain-delays and relaxation

by rebecca on June 17, 2010

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       Today rain-delays at the baseball park are my altared space. Baseball is a place I’ve learned to have fun as a grown up. I’ve surrendered control, basked in the afternoon, and lolled away evening after evening.

       My little family drove 4 hours to go to the Rockies game with my husband’s big family. The weather looked dicey. But you don’t put 19 people into seats on a whim. It took planning and we weren’t turning back when we had the tickets in hand.

       I, however, had nothing to do with the planning for this fun time. This is new for me. Typically, if our little family organizes a big family event (like this one) it is me who sends out the parade of emails or advance calls and orders the tickets. Not this time.

       Husband managed this one. I was along for the ride.

       It’s different when he does it. He’d asked me for advice about planning and I recommended setting a response date, which he did. But several people added their request for a seat after the deadline and after he’d already purchased the tickets.

       He handled things differently than I have in the past. Without complaint he simply called the Rockies box office three additional times adding seats to our order. And it worked. He was happy and relieved we’d all be together.

       I wanted to punish the late-comers.

       This is not my husband’s style and it is exactly why I married him. He is accepting about lateness and shoes scattered throughout the house and grilled cheese for dinner even though he’s worked a 16 hour shift.

        He expects life to be nothing short of happy because he brings happiness to every moment he meets.

        This is what I’ve learned living with him and watching baseball with him. The moments between fast plays can be slow and stress free.

       When we arrived at the game the in-field was covered with the tarp, which was about the time the rain returned; in buckets. We stood under pseudo-cover and laughed and chatted as big families do who haven’t been together for some time. We told stories. We ate ice cream. We were working on baseball time. No big hurry.

       One of the things I love about baseball is that the game pauses whenever the pitcher needs a pep talk. All these other players are on the field, but they simply stand and wait while one guy and his catcher talk about things that will help him throw the ball straight and true.

       I haven’t allowed myself lots of pitcher pep talks or tarp-covered rain delays in my life. I press on, sometimes getting muddy and ruining the infield of my life.

       But something is changing.

       Here’s what makes me think I’m changing: there was a time in my life that I would have ordered the tickets. I would have organized this big family and talked to group sales and …. I would have been in charge. Not anymore. I’m no longer interested in being in charge. Control is no longer so seductive.

       I pay more attention to my own happiness than to whether things are going according to the big plan. I was sitting there in the third inning at 10:00pm thinking, “I’m cold. I’m wet. My throat is getting sore and I’m no longer having fun. I was having fun until now. Now the fun is gone. Maybe I’ll leave.”

       That’s when my daughter reminded me we had two cars and she and I could leave without disturbing anyone else’s plans. So I left. And the baseball night was a huge success.

       I got to see the rain tarp, which I adore. I got to witness two homeruns: one for the Rockies, one for the Blue Jays (fairness feels better to my system than winning). And then, as soon as the fun evaporated, I noticed and went home.

       This is new for me too. I tend to stick it out. I am married to the plan. Going forward in life I’d like to be married to my happiness.

       As I looked around the ball park people were deliriously happy, even as they sat in the rain. Those that weren’t had gone home. Traditionally I have tried to control things beyond my control; like rain and when people respond to emails.

       I’m just going to get muddy this way.

       It’s better to enjoy the rain and the crowd whenever they arrive.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Eva @ Eva Evolving June 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I relate to this so much, Rebecca. Growing up, my family would make the 3-hour drive to Minneapolis to see a baseball game each summer. It was a fun weekend and a tradition we all enjoyed. As an adult, I’ve always been a Twins fan – although I had never seen them play outside until our new stadium opened this year. And a few weeks ago, I experienced my first rain delay! I tried to approach it as a fun detour. We were there with friends, we just gathered in the pub and chatted and caught up. It was great.

I’m so glad to hear you’re approaching life with this great new focus on happiness instead of control. I think you and I are headed in the same direction on this!

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Kristen @ Motherese June 17, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Hi Rebecca – So much of this pitch-perfect piece resonates with me. The growing appreciation of baseball and the metaphors it affords. The need to be the planner (in our house, it still would have been me who did the calling). The presence of a partner whose flexibility and resilience helps me hone those skills in myself.

What struck me most was the model you and your husband were giving your kids by sharing the load. My mom was always the organizer, the responsible party, and I think that taught me that this is what moms do (and taught the same lessons to my brothers who still like to be taken care of logistically). I have a hard time letting go of the reins, often to my detriment.

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Joyce Breckenridge June 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm

On June 14, 2010, od gave me an epiphnay experience, where I was able to FINALLY put my past behind me, forgive others & myself & let go of the reins of runing the world!!! Yeah, PEACE in my soul! I am now more like my beloved husband of 46 yrs. It is showing in our relationship. Thankl you Rebecca for this topic…you must have the ear of God!! Love & Hugs! Joyce Breckenridge

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Yvette Francino June 18, 2010 at 8:16 am

As you know, I’ve been reading a lot about happiness. It seems you’ve discovered and are now living by one of the key concepts: mindfulness of your moods and staying true to yourself. I also love the way you are able to recognize the differences between you and your husband and show so much respect and appreciation for his style. Being consciously aware, knowing yourself and appreciating others all go a long way in bringing us peace and happiness. And if the “plan” is happiness, you can feel quite satisfied that you have achieved the plan AND happiness!

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BigLittleWolf June 18, 2010 at 6:04 pm

“… baseball time. No big hurry.”

Perfect.

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ck June 18, 2010 at 7:57 pm

What an awesome post. There is so much in here that felt like it came right out of my head. All the control stuff, being married to “the plan,” feeling yourself change, and how “the moments between fast plays can be slow and stress free.”

They can, can’t they? I think I’m done getting muddy too. THANK YOU for sharing such wonderful perspective. This post was inspiring.

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rebecca June 18, 2010 at 11:56 pm

CK,

One of the grand things about blogging is that I meet people who speak in metaphors. When you say, “I think I’m done getting muddy,” something deep inside me sighs.

I feel understood at a level that is beyond ideas and words…it is in that land of the metaphor. Of course I can’t explain it… but I’m finding that in my blogging life so many people speak this language and it is soothing a deep spot in me.

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Amber June 20, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Wow. There are so many gems in here.

My husband is a non-punisher as well. When he is working on group project at school, it is almost inevitable that at least one group member will either not show up or not put forth any effort which usually means my husband does 70% of the group’s work. Rather than punish them (which I would do and even encourage) he knocks off a few points and reminds me that I don’t know what is going on in their life. It is irritating…and highly attractive.

I am slowly learning these lessons that you are sharing.

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Stacia June 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Fairness always feels better to me than winning, too. And, oh, how I love some baseball!

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Jana @ Attitude Adjustment June 27, 2010 at 7:01 am

Rebecca,
I feel like i’m changing (altering) just like you. I’m trying to let things roll a bit more. I suppose having kids will do that to you. And the days that are relaxing, calm, slow and spontaneous, tend to be the best days!

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