Friday, May 29, 2015

Take Me Out To The BaaaaaaallllGammmmme!

"Take me out to the ball game....take me out to the crowd!"  These are words I sang many times at Cub's games while Jen and I lived our childless life in the city.  Even after kids we were lucky enough to take JD and Connor to a game and meet, then Cub David DeJesus, during warm-ups.  Jen and I often talk about how exciting it will be to watch Connor play sports as he grows while having JD with us cheering him on.  Same with JD attending Kaitlyn’s events to support her athletic adventures. However, In all honestly, I never really let myself picture JD playing any sports because…well, I just could not picture it.  But all that changed on Friday.

JD has been attending school now for a few weeks.  As Jen wrote in the last post, JD has been thriving and loving it.  He comes home happy, exhausted and most times asleep from the bus ride.  Teachers give such raving reviews and you can really feel their love for him. However, that is all for another post.  This is about my realization that I have been limiting my visions of what JD can enjoy while growing up.

Last Friday, I took off from work and drove with Jen down to the baseball diamond with the Kaitlyn and Connor meeting up with the grandparents. JD had a large cheering section. We walked around meeting other parents and talking to his teachers as we waited for another the other school to arrive to battle JD “Stretch” Gawel’s Fairwood Frogs! I found myself wandering around with Connor before the game, not because I was bored (the game started almost an hour late) but because I found myself getting anxious.  Not the “before a big presentation” anxiety or the “right before one of his surgeries” worry…but the “oh man, I hope he is ready for the game” excitement.

JD's cheering section

Before any real baseball game begins, there is the National Anthem! This game was no different. Sitting out on the diamond with one of his classmates, was JD with the American Flag while a recording of LeAnn Rimes belted over the speakers.  While her voice was pre-recorded and overly produced (Jen prefers the Whitney Houston or Carrie Underwood versions) our emotions were pure and happening in real-time.  I was proud, VERY proud.  There sat JD, the center of everyone’s attention, just hanging out waiting for the game to start not realizing how many people were there believing in him.
JD out for the National Anthem!

Fairwood Frogs Line-Up

After the Anthem I paced back and forth waiting for JD to bat.  Yes, one of his teachers would physically swing the bat.  Yes, one of his teachers would be his legs and push him around the bases.  But nothing could lessen the amount of pride and love I had for JD at that moment. Did I mention he hit a home run!  The rest of the game flew by and we enjoyed a quick picnic afterwards.  Nothing else really mattered except Jen and I feel JD really had a good time. I mean a REALLY great time.  There were many moments of smiles and he never coughed or whined once.

Getting Pumped for the Game!
About to go to Bat

Calling his shot

Rounding first

Proud family (minus Kaitlyn who was sleeping) of the MVP
While I am sure JD learned something valuable that day…like which way to go around the bases, I learned that I have been looking down a narrow tunnel of what I can imagine JD doing.  I have always been thinking about one day forward, will he learn to communicate through a switch, can he say yes/no, and will he ever sit up on his own?  I now realize I need to think about JD in a different way as well.  Will he like baseball or soccer?  Will he enjoy musicals or plays?  What will he look like in a graduation gown?  Will he want to play video games with his friends or just hang around outside talking about who knows what? JD is more than a child that needs our support and extra care.  He is a child, a child who wants to hang out and do kid things.
“For its root, root, root for J…D…”

Resting after the game.


  1. How wonderful!!! It's very encouraging to see future possibilities opening up for JD and all of our kids.

  2. Awesome post, Nate. And way to go JD, we are all in your cheering section!!

  3. So exciting. JD is an amazing little guy! Hope to see him in action very soon.

  4. That's fantastic! I'm so happy to read this post and very proud of JD. That must have been an exciting day for everybody. I look forward to reading about more of his home runs and other achievements. Please give him a big high 5 from me!

  5. JD gets his athletic ability from me, Aunt Pat, not from my sister ha ha ha; ask your mom about the time that she............well never mind...............
    great entry, Nate! Nice to read this!

  6. and a very Happy Father's Day tomorrow, Nate!