I wouldn’t be a baseball fan if it wasn’t for my Dad. My relationship with him and my relationship with baseball are so inextricable tangled that I’m not sure what one would look like without the other.
When I was a teenager, and intractable as teenage girls can be, he kept me grounded through our shared love and appreciation of the beautiful game of baseball.
It’s all these baseball memories with my Dad that my mind pours over as I watched him lying, sometimes sleeping, sometimes staring into space, from his hospital bed.
I won the parent lottery. If I turn out exactly like either of my parents I will be a wonderful person.
Not everyone is this lucky. I had a wonderful childhood, the kind that people write books about. Somehow they kept the real life stuff from invading our peaceful existences as long as they could.
But real live invades at some point.
It’s a crab, a zodiac sign. In fact it’s the sign of my brother and sister. It can’t be that bad. Just a sea creature, smaller than a shark, larger than a barnacle.
As my baseball fandom morphed into obsession, it was my Dad who shared the same strange fascination with a game played with a stick of wood and a ball. As I suffered through the indignity of growing up, it was my Dad who offered a big picture perspective and the wisdom to see that life carries on whether you are ready for it or not.
I can’t interpret or accept that these hospital visits and oncology appointments could be anything but temporary. I’m just not ready to grow up that much.
I saw many expressions from him laying in that hospital bed. Annoyance, boredom, grudging acceptance. I saw soul deep weariness, but I never saw surrender.
This is the most difficult Father’s Day we’ve celebrated. As bad as things have felt, he is home and getting better. And today we will watch the Mariners and I can pretend for a few hours that I’m a kid again and all the horrors of the world will fade into the background as a father and a daughter share the wonderful, wonderful game of baseball.
Happy Fathers Day to all the amazing Dads out there. Especially the ones who have passed on their love of baseball.