It's one of my favorite times of the year. Whether it be Fall or Spring, you will usually find us at the ballfield. The middle root has been playing baseball for almost 5 years now, and we have loved it to pieces. There is something about the nostalgia that goes along with baseball that makes it the classic All-American sport. The smell of hot dogs and popcorn, copious amounts of sunflower seeds, and for us, the inevitable snow cone after a victory, and two of them after a defeat. When ball season begins, we are full throttle between practices and games, it sometimes feels as though it's over before it ever even begins. This season I had a moment with my son that has remained stuck in my head and has given me the "I suck as a mother" feeling in the pit of my stomach. We pull into the parking lot of the ballpark, and I'm wrangling the tiny root, getting out ball gear, making sure Charlie doesn't get hit by some random passerby, and trying my best to stay within the confines of my mental "happy place", when Charlie spots one of his buddies and waves to the boy and his mom who, to be honest, isn't doing quite as good at staying in her "happy place" as I am. As I get everyone situated and head up the pathway to what I hope will be a one snow cone evening, I smile to myself because I realize in the moment that I am fucking killing it! I'm still in my "happy place", the kids aren't fussing for any reason, the tiny root still has her shoes on, and I haven't yet encountered the random parent that seems dead set on smoking it up right outside the gate. Then suddenly the middle looks up at me with his dapper freshly cut hair and those big beautiful eyes and says "Why don't you have one of those shirts like the other mom's wear?" My first thought was...Huh? This is usually my first thought on most every subject when he begins to speak. He can clearly sense the confusion and decides to clarify. "You know, the shirts that the moms wear that has says who their kid is." It hits me that he is referring to the classic "Charlie's Mom" shirt that is apparently in the eyes of a 9-year-old is a sure-fire measure of how much you love and adore your little ballplayer. I never skip a beat because if you hesitate, they begin to smell a lie coming. As quickly as possible I come up with a huge load of bullshit and delivered it to him on a silver platter. The first two years it was because he couldn't really read all that well anyway, so what was the point, and the next year I was pregnant with the little root and they probably didn't make one big enough, and this current season I thought he may be too old for it. I waited patiently to see if he was buying it, and he replies "Oh, okay. Well, I'm not too big." HE BOUGHT IT!!!!!! At first, I felt a bit of relief because he didn't feel any less loved than the mothers who boasted about their children without even saying a word, but then I started to feel the guilty "gut rot" coming on. I watched that perfect boy on the field, beads of sweat on his little-freckled nose, a smudge of dirt across his cheek and I pondered why I had never opted to tell everyone at the ballpark that that handsome devil out there was mine. I didn't have to think long, at best it was a marathon 30 seconds from start to finish. It's because I'm a sore loser! God forbid we are in the bottom 9th, bases loaded, 2 outs and my perfect middle root is up to bat and strikes out, I don't want a soul to know that little asshole is mine! I'm throwing two snow cones worth of money at the dugout and he can find his own way to the car. Seriously, I only kid. The truth is, it just isn't my style and while I can appreciate parents desire to let everyone know who their little ballplayer is, I know who my middle belongs to, and that's enough for me. After the game was over, we headed back home and he never mentioned the t-shirt topic again, but the "guilty gut" never went away. While it is enough for me to know that Charlie was my little ballplayer, it clearly wasn't enough for him. As a general rule, I am a die hard non-conformist and I don't do well when it comes to compromising the things I like and dislike for the sake of others. Even my children. Some may see it as being selfish, but what I am teaching my children is that you don't compromise yourself to make others feel comfortable. That being said, I was browsing around online to try and find a way to show my middle that he not only matters but that I didn't mind showing others that we belong to one another when I stumbled upon the answer to our non-problem. Jewelry! As someone who doesn't dress for different sporting events, I have never browsed around to see what type of jewelry is out there, but low and behold, I stumbled upon SPORT F.A.B by Feather & Bean and boy am I glad I did! The first item I saw was a bracelet that looked just like a baseball and on it was a stamped plate making it a perfect canvas for my little ballplayer's name. I'm not lying you guys when the bracelet arrived, I was so over the moon impressed with the craftsmanship, I immediately sat down to email Krista and let her know how talented she is and that I couldn't wait to share with all of my baseball lovers out there. The best part is that she makes items for baseball lovers, football fans, softball girls, and in several different style options. When I showed the middle that I had found a way to connect us in a way that didn't compromise myself, he asked when he could get one of his own. Needless to say, I'm going to be ordering one for him with his number stamped on it for Christmas. Thank you to SPORT F.A.B for making a way for the boy and I to claim one another. Live, Love, and Grow Roots!