Davey Doser At the Bat

The sun was baking, the bugs were flying, and the breeze was all but existent.  We knew it would be tough, we knew it would be long, but we hoped he would make it through, with the resilience of the Doser he is.

Being in the heat for an adult can be brutal, but playing tee ball as a 4 year old, takes exhaustion as well as stamina to whole new levels.

Saturday was our first tee ball game of the season, and it was a double header at that, on quite literally the hottest day of the year.   Should I have been surprised, nearly 41 years old and a lifetime living in the South?   I wasn’t.   As a matter of fact, I thought back to my grueling summer days of band camp, and knew that if I could survive eight hours of that torture, then my flesh and blood, my first born, would be able to survive 2 hours of tee ball.

As the kids slowly trickled in, their parents in tow with chairs, sunscreen, bug spray, cameras, and coolers of drinks (wait maybe that was just me), a little pre game practice began.   Just as the game was to start, the water seemed to break, or maybe the kids were just looking for an excuse to avoid the inevitable game, and the entire team trekked inside to the bathroom.   Quite the crew they were, and more entertaining for me was seeing my husband as the leader of the group.

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Davey Doser at bat.

Bathroom breaks were over, all teammates were present, and it was time to start some tee ball.   As my husband gathered around the teams, he quickly reminded me of one of the many reasons I love him so.   Removing his cap, and encouraging the kids to do the same, he went down on bended knee, head lowered and thanked our Lord for the day, the children, and the opportunity to play.  And then with an “Amen” he stood up and proclaimed, “let’s play ball.”

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Coach Doser praying before the game.

So, the thing with tee ball and 4 &5 year olds is that they don’t have much patience for being in the outfield.   Waiting on a ball to come their way is excruciating.   It’s akin to waiting for that boy or girl who you really have the hots for, to call you.   You wait and wait and wait.   You hope and pray for that ball to come your way, and much like when the phone rings, when that elusive ball is hit, you immediately jump and run for it.   All of the kids run, not just the one who it was hit towards.   I watched in amusement as the first ball was hit towards first base and the poor kid in left field nearly ran over all his teammates just to get the ball.   They reminded of the seagulls from Finding Nemo, with their shouts of “mine, mine, mine” as they scrambled to be the one to get the ball.

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Davey caught the ball!

When they’re at bat, it’s a whole other world.   Their excitement is intoxicating.  Their eagerness to hit the ball as hard as possible and as far as possible inspires even the laziest of us to want to do more.   Davey looks like such a big boy until he puts on a batting helmet, and then he’s immediately reduced back to my little baby boy, but he chokes up on the bat, offers himself as a switch hitter (yes he hits left and right), steps into the swing and hits the ball.   At times it’s a foul, but he still makes contact.

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Running home!

Tee ball is exciting for me, more so than soccer, maybe not as much as football, but we haven’t gotten there yet.   Tee ball represents America.  It’s the beginning stages of baseball, America’s pastime, and reminds me of all things warm and like home.   I love that Davey wanted to take it back up again this season.   I love that he’s learning to hit a ball that’s thrown at him.  I love that he gets into his catcher’s stance and has even asked for a big wad of gum to chew.

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Throwing to the cut off man.

For the next six weeks, our lives will be inundated with hot summer nights on the baseball field, steamy Saturday mornings at the same place, an overabundance of Gatorade, batting practice, catching stances, and we might even throw in some hotdogs and ice cream.   When my little Davey Doser is at the bat or in the field, this mama, as always, is his biggest fan.

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Celebrating another catch.

With his daddy as coach, he seems to have taken to the game a bit more, or maybe it’s just because he’s a year older with a bit more focus.  Who knows!

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Getting a high five from Daddy, er Coach Doser.

Hey batter, batter, batter!

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Quicker Than We Know It

For the past few days, it’s been agony in our house.   We’re back home from our two week vacation to Rochester and trying to get back into the swing of things.  I’m not sure what our problem has been, and by “our” I really mean my children, but to say they’re not getting along is an understatement.   The past few days I’ve found myself contemplating Baileys in my morning coffee, job searching, and even just running away from the house, leaving the boys to fend for themselves.

Yesterday I counted the days (including weekends) until school starts back for my children.  It was 46 days, so 45 today.   I’ve played around with the idea of creating a countdown board, one to help me through the days, but I thought it might depress the boys.  Apparently I don’t know my children as well as I thought.   When I told both of them how much longer they had until school started, I was met with cries of “that’s way far off” and “I don’t know if I can wait that long.”  Huh?  My kids are actually looking forward to school.  Imagine that!  Perhaps I will create that countdown board after all.

It’s as if the school seemed to know that I was desperate for the summer to be over as I received packets for both boys in the mail yesterday.  It’s your standard “welcome” packet complete with photography waiver, PTA dues, calendars, and volunteer opportunities.  Excitedly, I tore into the packets and perused through the calendar.   So much will be going on this year and I can’t wait for the adventures in learning to start.

This afternoon, I decided to begin work on the packets, first thing being to take the calendar and log in all essential days onto my personal calendar.   For the things I felt my husband needed to be a part of, I emailed a calendar invite to him so he could add it to his schedule.   I was feeling accomplished and for the first time all week, I’ve felt normal again, and able to breathe, but then things started to unravel as I continued adding events.

In September, there are two separate Donuts with Dad days that my husband will need to attend with BOTH boys.   As I entered those events and hit “ENTER” the next event popped up on my screen…Davey’s 5th Birthday.  My first born will be 5 this year.   5!!!!   Thanks, Google!   Way to give my heart a true smack for being so ungrateful.

I continued on into December, with another shouting from my calendar of “Henry’s 3rd Birthday”.  How is this possible?   How are my children going to be 5 &3?  How are these days going by so quickly and yet so painfully slow as well?

Fast forward a few months on my calendar and we’re into April when Davey begins testing for kindergarten readiness.   TESTING!!!!!  Gah!  I don’t know whether to be excited, happy, nervous, scared crapless, or worried.  Actually, I know what I am…I’m sad.   My first baby is growing up and will no longer be in preschool.  He’ll be in school, all day, every day.   He’ll have lunch without me.   He’ll spend six hours of every day without me.   He’ll have a life away from me, and as much as I’m exhausted with the two of them this summer, I’m saddened by how quickly life is moving for my little family.   Even when I’m so overwhelmed with the two of them and all I can think about is how quickly the day will be over, deep down I’m hurting.

Lately Facebook has been inundating me with memories of Davey.  There have been pictures of his first steps, the first days we were together as I became a stay at home mom.   There are memories of his silly faces, his dances, his “no pants Tuesday”, imitating daddy, cuddling with Dixie, eating breakfast on the back porch, learning to write, Facetime with Daddy for breakfast, dinner and bedtime (since daddy used to travel so much) and “reading” silently in his room.    It’s as if Facebook is insync with my moods and knows that I need these reminders even when I’m desperate for some peace, for some time away from my children.

People tell me I’ll miss these days all the time.   They’ve been telling me that for years, but I’ve chosen not to listen, to tune out their “all knowing” voices.   I’ve put my head down and found a way to plow through each day with my boys and just hope for the end of the day.   I tell these people they’re nuts, that I’ll “never miss these days,” but I will.  We all know I will.   Heck, I’m already missing the days when Davey had his little baby voice as he was learning to speak.   I already miss the days when I could pick him up and cuddle up with him.   I already miss the days of his chubby little munchkin legs (he’s begun to take after me and is getting tall and skinny).   There is so much my heart already hurts over, things that have long since gone.

It’s a shame it takes things like Facebook memories and school welcome packets to zap me out of my summer blues with the boys.

 

What I Leave Them With

I read this post today on Facebook.   It was titled 2 Rules About Children.

  1.  Do not ask them to deal with adult issues.
  2. Do not burden them with situations they cannot control.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I worried about miscarriages.  Once I was past that stage, I worried about any health issues with my child.  I worried about whether I would really be capable of raising a child.   I’ve never been a totally selfless person, so I worried about whether my child would steal my thunder.  Yes!  I did selfishly worry about that and I know I’m not the only one.   I worried that I would take a backseat to my child and his well being and could I do that?   Could I totally forgo my dreams, aspirations, and physical well being, for my child?

After Davey was born, I worried about if I would remember to clean his where he was circumcised correctly.   Would I bathe him appropriately?  Then of course, there was the worry that I wasn’t providing enough breast milk when he wasn’t immediately gaining weight.  I cried.  I sobbed uncontrollably in the doctor’s office, whined about being a failure to my child.   I was terrified, truly terrified that perhaps I didn’t have what it took to raise a child.

Some nights I would get up and sneak into his room just to make sure he was still breathing.  Other nights, when exhaustion seemed to have my body immovably shackled, I let him cry it out at night.   I would wake up the next morning, log onto my social media account and read about the pros and cons to letting your child cry it out.   I would then be wounded with more emotional guilt for not being the caring parent that people claimed I should be.   “How heartless can you be,” some would say when I would comment that I’d let Davey cry it out.  Some days that criticism would sting, other days I would reply back “suck it!”

As a parent we worry about so much, it comes with the territory.  Your child is your heart, he is a part of you.   My life revolves around my role as a mom to my two boys, to protect and nurture them, but to also teach them and let them grow.   All of the things I used to worry about, though seem really small when I look at what’s going on in the world today and what type of world my children will grow up in, and their children, and so on.

We limit the amount of news the boys see and my husband and I try to hold off on our discussions of current events and politics until after the boys have gone to bed.   Our discussions can get heated even though we’re both on the same side and I worry (there’s that word again) that the boys will feed off of those discussions in a negative way.  The world they are growing up in is drastically different from the one in which I grew up.

Over the past week, we’ve been inundated with so much anger and hatred, so much hurt and violence, so much pain and agony.   It hurts my heart while also hardening it and adds a whole new spectrum of worry that I never thought would enter my stratosphere.   I find myself asking these questions over and over, “what kind of world am I leaving my boys with ?  What sort of legacy will I leave them with?  What levels of pain and suffering will they be forced to endure?”

Then I’m faced with another issue…how do I talk to my children about what’s going on in our country?   How do I talk to them about the importance of civil disobedience in a democratic society while also enforcing the importance of respect?   How do I talk to them about the fact that 5 police officers were murdered for just protecting a peaceful protest?  They’re 2 & 4, so we keep them insulated, they’re kids and shouldn’t be forced to deal with the burdens of the world so soon, but should something happen to me or even when I get old and die, how my children deal with the complexities of society worries me.   Have I taught them enough?  Surely I’m not the only parent with this thought.

So now my worry has gone from small things like, did he remember to brush his teeth, to a much larger scale of what sort of life will they have in a world becoming so full of hate.   I’ve done my best to instill in my boys the importance of Christ in their lives, respect for people in general, empathy and understanding for people less fortunate than them.   We tackled one hurdle this year when one of our police officers lost his life at the hands of a youth whom he’d tried to mentor.  The thought that crosses my mind is the same that crosses that of a 4 year old, “well if he was trying to a friend and help the boy, mom, then why did the boy shoot him?  He was a police officer.  That’s wrong.”  Those were the words from my child’s mouth.  How do you explain the evil in this world to a 4 year old without scaring him senseless?   My husband and I did that, we believe, to the best of our abilities, but still it’s a constant field of landmines with each piece of news that comes out.   We pick and choose what to tell them.   “Yes, baby, there are bad people in this world and they do win sometimes.”   Then there are the days when you find yourself sitting in the bathroom crying because your children were unknowingly playing with the children of the slain officer while at the neighborhood pool.   Your heart breaks with uncontrollable levels of sadness because you know these boys will have to grow up without their father.   Then your crying becomes that of guilt because you and your boys give to live so freely, and then to a cry of happiness that you don’t have to go through that grief.   I hide this from my boys.  I’d love to hide it from them forever, stuff all of this insensitivity, killing, and ignorance in a lock box (to quote the words of Al Gore in a debate with George W. Bush), but I can’t.   All I can do is love my babies, teach them the word of God, and hold them.

This world becomes scarier and scarier every day and thanks to social media, everything gets magnified.   People seem to enjoy seeing the bad and shun the good.   Media outlets fight each other for the most spectacular stories.   Evil sells faster than good.   It’s a fact of the world we live in and it’s my job to make sure that my children still have a childhood, still have the ability to accomplish their dreams, and to be a PARENT.   None of this can stop because of the worry and paranoia of today’s world, but the worry and paranoia still creep in.

As a parent, I want my children to have more than I ever did.   I want them to accomplish more.  I want them to be happy, to have every opportunity, and to have a life.

When I say my prayers, I first ask the Lord to forgive me of my sins, those I know I committed and those I unknowingly commit.  I thank Him for my family, everything I’m not entitled to because I am a sinner,  and then I pray that he helps the world to find Him again.   I suppose that’s the best I can do as a parent.

Butterflies, Snakes, and A Few Other Things

It’s hot down South.   Nope.   It’s not just hot, it’s “I just sweated off my deodorant, walking ten feet to my car” hot.   It’s so hot that I can’t even bring myself to take my kiddos to our neighborhood pool because there is no shade.   They may be able to get in the pool and cool off, but I’m exhausting myself keeping sunscreen on them, making sure their little feet don’t get blistered on the hot concrete (they REFUSE their water shoes), and trying to keep myself from burning to a crisp.

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Fortunately, for the past two weeks, we’ve been in Rochester, NY where for the most part days there have felt like college football weather down here.   The mornings were crisp, light, and refreshing, with the occasional breeze wisping over your skin.   The nights were cool enough to sleep with a fan and window open, reminding me of the cooler summers of my youth when we would spend the night with my grandma who had NO air conditioning.   So, my boys and I have been spoiled for two weeks.   They’ve been outside a lot, minimal television and iPad usage, and exploring what’s around.  Now that we’re back home, well, it’s just too hot to be outside.

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Today, I thought we could remedy that by going to the Roper Mountain Science Center for the last day of their Butterfly Adventure.  I knew a big portion of the exhibit was inside, so we would be cool (when not in the simulated rainforest perfect for the living conditions of the butterflies), and the opportunities to explore and learn would be immeasurable.

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I’d head a lot about the exhibit before we left for NY.   Between packing and Vacation Bible School at our church, I didn’t have the opportunity to take the boys.   I decided that once we got back in town, I would take them before it ended.

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We go to the Roper Mountain Science Center at Christmas for the lights and easily the best Santa around, but outside of that I haven’t been to the center since my college days when I was in their planetarium for an astronomy class.   I’ve considered going on numerous occasions, but truthfully Henry is just exhausting and he seems to make things unenjoyable for Davey (and well me at times, too).

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I’m an early riser, so we left as soon as we were ready and made it just after the gates opened at 9 am.   The lines were not that long, perhaps a 15 minute wait, and the boys were able to pass their time cooling off in the water misters and drawing their own butterflies on the sidewalk with the chalk provided.   Davey continually asked questions since he had developed a fascination with butterflies thanks to this past school year where they watched a caterpillar become a butterfly.  Henry?   He didn’t care.  He was just along for the ride and eager to terrorize.

Butterfly adventure

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what we experienced wasn’t it.   We didn’t get to just see butterflies, but we also got to touch them, and even entice them over to us with our nectar wands, easily the greatest thing for Davey.   The butterfly adventure, was short, sweet, and to the point, but since you’re paying good money to get in, the center encourages you to check out the rest of what’s available which included a marine lab, an ecology lab, and a wildlife lab, which just happened to have  a corn snake ready to be petted.   Davey took one look at the snake and said, “no way”, while Henry wanted to hug, and squeeze it and take it home.   Henry couldn’t possibly get this from my side, this must come from his father’s side of the family (wink wink), snakes are not my thing.

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We spent the remainder of our morning “milking” a cow, which I found to be humorous for today’s kids who are completely clueless with the appropriate way to milk a cow.  Thank God for this country girl to show ’em a thing or two.   We toured backwoods homes, school houses that mirrored the one from Little House on the Prairie, and a farm.   We petted sheep, goats, chickens, and cows.   The boys washed their clothing the way my grandmother used to…an old washing board.   They thought they were to take the rags and clean the board, not that the board was to clean the rags.   Kids these days.

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While I’m sure we could have seen and experienced more, this oppressive heat just seems to be taking it out of us.  It’s difficult during the dog days of summer to find things to keep the kiddos busy, but today was definitely an adventure for the books.

Flying the Friendly Skies

Travel day comes along much too early.   Regardless of how early you may get in the bed, eager to rest your weary bones before a day of travel, the time to arise and begin the excursion comes much too early.   For me, travel day is the most exhausting day in the world, beating out the days when my children were born.   I typically set 3 alarms; my ancient clock radio, my cell phone, and either a battery operated clock or one that you wind up.   I have this immense fear of missing a flight, so I always have a back up and a back up for my back up, but even then I don’t sleep well.   I’m still too nervous that all of my alarms will fail.

So, needless to say, Wednesday, June 22nd, I was wide awake at 3 am, 45 minutes prior to my alarm clocks going off.   My children and I had a 6 am flight to make our annual two week summer vacation in Rochester with my in-laws.   Instead of dilly dallying, I got up, made an extra strong cup of coffee, and began getting dressed.   Our plan was to leave at 4:30 so as to get to the airport by 5 am, we actually ended up leaving at 4:15, with the bright moonlight illuminating the road ahead and a 5 Hour Energy in my system.

This is my second time flying solo with my boys.   This year also marks the first time in which we have to pay for Henry to fly, meaning he gets his own seat.   It’s also the first time we haven’t flown Southwest (since they’ve decided to cancel their flights from Greenville to Rochester).  United won out on the bidding wars of flying.  So, we were navigating new territories, or perhaps some just a bit unfamiliar.

I’d quizzed all my Facebook friends (my measly 300) and inquired about the wait times for TSA which I’d seen on the news over the past couple of months.   People were missing flights, lines were atrocious.   While I’ve never had a problem with security in Greenville/Spartanburg, I still asked if anyone else had experienced long delays.   With a 6 am flight on Wednesday, on a non-holiday, I was told by everyone it should be pretty easy.   So, we arrive at the airport to check in at 5 and I’m told we had just made the cut off.  What?  Surely this woman was jesting.  Nope! The boys and I stood in an almost 45 minute line at TSA security and we were one of the last ones to board our flight.   This should have been an omen.   I should have heeded the signs that this was not going to be as I had hoped it would be.

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All prepared for take off.

We were not the last ones to  get on the plane, about 8 more people followed, and as I’m getting the boys seated and ready to go, iPads queued up with movies, coloring books and crayons at the ready, my darling oldest, the one who made me a mother, the apple of my eye, sees a rather well endowed woman in the physical weight arena and shouts out, “Mom, have you ever seen a lady so BIG?”

My mouth dropped open.  I could feel the stares of all of my fellow passengers, some I know were chuckling, others were mentally scolding me for not enforcing that age old rule from my parent’s generation, “children are to be seen and not heard.”   As the lady got closer, I felt the sharp knives of her contempt stabbing my body.   I did my best to diffuse the situation by explaining to my son that everyone seems large to him because he’s a little guy.  You know, the whole relativity/perception thing.   That didn’t work.   “Everyone’s not THAT big, mom.”  I smiled at the faces around me and buckled in for what I was sure was to be a torturous ride.   There would be no escape, but if this were the least of my problems, then I would survive.  Problem was, it wasn’t the least of my problems.

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As we taxied down the runway to take flight, I caught a distinct whiff of poop, and since I was pretty certain that no one would have crapped themselves, I knew it had to be my sweet little Henry who had chosen NOW as the time to have a movement.   At least it was in his diaper and once we were in the air, I could go to the bathroom and change him, or so I thought.

The engines on the plane opened up to full throttle and we began speeding down the runway as Henry decided to reach his hand in his pants, and pull it back out, covered in pooped!   I frantically looked around me, eager to find something to wipe his hand with, but the only thing I could find was a vomit bag and before I could use it, my sweet little angel, decided to wipe his hand on the seat back in front of him!

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The seconds ticked by slowly as I kept trying to bide my time for when I could unbuckle and haul my child into the bathroom to change him.  After what felt like an eternity, we were at a safe cruising altitude and the seat belt sign went off.  In one swoop, I grabbed the diaper bag and my child, tried to divert my eyes from the offended large lady as she humpfed at me, and went to the lavatory that is smaller than the size of our coat closet (which can hold about 10 coats).   Imagine being inside a Pringles can and attempting to change the diaper of a 35 pound 2 year old.   And what’s worse, the poop had leaked out onto his shorts.   So, from that point forward, for the rest of our travel experience, my son would be walking around in his diaper.

So, three things had happened…the long delay at TSA, my vocally observant 4 year old, and my pooping 2 year old.   They say everything happens in threes.   Surely, I was out of the woods, right?   One would think!

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After arriving in Newark, and just as we were attempting to board the last leg of our journey, I was stopped by the ticketing agent at the gate who inquired as to if Henry was a lap child.  I pointed out the ticket she was holding in his name and at that point she asked if he didn’t have any pants because United requires ALL passengers with a seat to wear pants.   Excuse me?   No! He didn’t have pants, he had soiled them.   To this she asked, “well, aren’t you prepared for instances like this?”  No I was not prepared because the last time Henry had done something to this magnitude, he was 6 months old!   She held the tickets for a minute, looked down at my boys, smiled at them, then looked back at me and frowned as if to shame me for being unprepared, and finally let me on board.

I see people flying with children all the time.  It seems to be flawless, but it never is with me.   Why is that?   The only good side to our flight was that we made it into Rochester a half an hour early.   That’s 30 minutes less of being inside a tin tube with my children and no escape.

Next week, we fly the friendly skies back home.   This time daddy will be along for the journey, whose patience is quite a few levels lower than mine.